Last week, Glenn Beck claimed that supporters of Donald Trump behaved like “brown shirts” at the Nevada caucus site he visited last Tuesday night–but two witnesses at Palo Verde High School say that did not happen.
The volunteers spoke exclusively with Breitbart News on Thursday and Friday, and disputed Beck’s account.
Beck took to Facebook directly following his appearance, where he spoke on behalf of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). He called Trump supporters “[s]ome of the nastiest people I have ever been with,” and added, “We have their hate and rage on tape.” He went so far as to call his experience “scary” and “sad.”
The term “brown shirt” refers to the “Sturmabteilung,” Adolf Hitler’s Nazi paramilitary group. Breitbart News reported that Beck has also called Trump-supporting Tea Party members racist for supporting the presidential candidate.
Beck described the events at that caucus location on his Wednesday morning radio program:
When I walked in [to the caucus location], the Trump people went out of their mind. And we have it all on video tape. These women were so vile and nasty. As soon as I started to talk – [imitating their voices] “Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!” – to the point were everybody in the room was like, “Ladies, can you please stop?” And I just said – we all have two minutes to say our peace. The precinct leader got up and said, “Hey, knock it off.” They were continuing to be vile. When the room kind of turned against them, then they started being four year olds. Then as I was talking they were like [imitating them] “Nah la la la la la la la.” It was bizarre. It was absolutely bizarre.
But that account is contradicted by eyewitness accounts from volunteers who witnessed the events that night.
Palo Verde High School caucus site manager Jim Small told Breitbart News: “I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that people were behaving like Nazis. I think [Beck] may be using a bit of hyperbole to describe the situation.”
Beck also posted a Blaze video to his Facebook page in which he includes 12 seconds that appears to be the “Trump!” chanting to which he referred. (Another voice chimes in to chant for Marco Rubio.)
Small commented, “I certainly didn’t see that behavior and I never heard of any disruption. From what he’s posted it could be a bit outside what we would normally consider acceptable, but nobody raised it to my attention.”
In the same video, Beck also accused the “head of this particular precinct” of supporting GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio, and manipulating the caucus operation, “so the word was coming back that he was making it hard–instead of being able to speak to one room, he was breaking it up into 10 rooms, so you had to do 10 separate speeches, because he was afraid.”
However, it is normal operating procedure to separate individual precincts at a particular caucus location into several rooms. Breitbart News observed similar practices at other caucus locations. At last Saturday’s Democratic Party caucus, volunteers at Del Webb Middle School also broke precincts up into separate rooms.
Small confirmed to Breitbart News that he supported Rubio; however, he says he did not wear any Rubio paraphernalia to the caucus site. Small said he also did not give any indication to site volunteers who he was supporting, and confirmed that breaking up precincts into separate rooms is standard procedure for the caucus.
Caucus volunteer Pauline Lee, who served as a precinct captain, confirmed that Small was not wearing any Rubio-supportive materials.
Lee said that she was not in the classroom where Beck’s 12 seconds of video footage were taken. She recalled that Beck did not speak in her precinct room, but did pop his head in. Several people followed Beck out of the room to catch up and say hello to him, according to Lee.
“I think he’s kinda making a mountain out of a molehill,” Lee told Breitbart News. “I don’t think anyone was disrespectful to Glenn.”
Lee said that she spoke with the approximately 25 volunteers at the caucus site afterwards, and that the consensus was that caucus goers had not been disrespectful to Beck.
She went on to say, “Glenn Beck, you know, he enjoyed people’s attention for about a half hour. Trump came in, he had his army of people behind them. I just don’t know if he knew that Glenn was talking.”
Video of the event shows that Beck was irritated by Trump’s entrance. (Beck has disputed Trump’s claim that he “steamed out” of the room.”) Trump later said, “I didn’t do it on purpose, but I happened to be there.”
Lee added that the caucus volunteers supported many different candidates. “I was discussing with more active volunteers and we were like no one felt that we should apologize or that there was any malfeasance.”
Both Lee and site manager Jim Small called Trump supporters “boisterous,” but not disrespectful.
Small added: “As sometimes is the case when people are speaking, they are interrupted by someone with contrary views. That boisterousness was displayed by some partisan participants for another candidate. They were vociferous in their support and [their] demonstrative passion for other candidates.
“They weren’t as pleasant as they could have been, but everyone was given their two minutes. I don’t remember anyone behaving in a way that would require asking someone to exercise restraint.
“There was quite a bit of energy in the room. People behaved reasonably under the circumstances. Mr. Beck never said to me, ‘Hey, there’s a problem,’ or any one of his staff. There were all kinds of wild rumors running around.”
Small added, “The Palo Verde caucus site was the site with the most voters of any site in Clark County.”
Lee described the caucus a “community building event.”
Beck used the Wednesday edition of his radio program to attack Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon, comparing the U.S. Navy former Surface Warfare Officer to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.
Bannon hosts the Breitbart News Daily radio program on Sirius XM Patriot 125. Beck’s show airs directly after Breitbart News Daily on the same channel.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana