Trump mocked the man while delivering remarks from the podium during his rally in a Manchester arena, apparently confusing him for a protester.
“That guy’s got a serious weight problem,” Trump said as the man escorted out several protesters. “Go home. Start exercising.”
“Get him out of here please. Got a bigger problem than I do,” the President joked. “Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now he goes home and his mom says, ‘What the hell have you just done?'”
After the rally, the senior administration official said, Trump got the man’s name and contact information from a campaign aide and called him from Air Force One. He left the man a voicemail, the official said.
The man Trump appeared to criticize, Frank Dawson, told Fox News after the rally, “Everything’s good, I love the guy. He’s the best thing that ever happened to this country.”
Dawson said the President “didn’t see me rip the signs away from” protesters seated nearby. “It wasn’t going to happen beside me because I’m trying to listen to my President,” he added.
This isn’t the first time Trump has heckled protesters at his rallies.
At one rally in 2016, he mocked a protester for wearing a turban and at another, he said one protester was so young he was “still wearing diapers.” He also said he’d like to punch a protester in the face, adding that “in the old days” protesters would be “carried out on stretchers.”
“We’re not allowed to push back anymore,” he added.
More recently, at a 2018 rally, he questioned whether a protester he spotted was a man or a woman.
“Was that a man or a woman? Because he needs a haircut more than I do,” Trump said. “I couldn’t tell. Needs a haircut.”