Donald Trump praised a supporter who confronted a protester at a rally in battleground Pennsylvania, saying the heckler is “going home to his parents” to get “in trouble” while the loyalist who shut him down is “the kind of guy I want working for me.”
As the heckler was being isolated and presumably escorted out, the president smirked and the large Middletown, Pennsylvania, crowd loudly chanted, “USA! USA!”
The president trails Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in the Keystone State by 4.3 per cent, according to an average of polls tabulated by RealClearPolitics. But Mr Trump and his campaign aides say their polling, like in 2016, shows a far closer race there.
Mr Trump had not been on stage but for a few minutes when the fracas broke out.
He was lauding his third Supreme Court nominee, federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett, when the crowd began yelling and pointing to his left.
Mr Trump watched the apparent silencing of his critic before sending the audience into loud cheers with his reaction.
“That guy, he’s going home to his parents now. He’s going to be in big trouble," Mr Trump said with a chuckle.
“He just opened his mouth and we had that gentleman in the beautiful blue,” he said, referring to US police being associated with that colour.
“Are you in law enforcement?” Mr Trump said to the silencer, before mocking the heckler: “He hadn’t gotten the first word out.”
The president revelled in his supporter stepping in.
“That’s the kind of guy I want working for me,” Mr Trump said to cheers.
“That’s called natural instinct,” he said as it started to rain. "Some people have it but most people don't.”