A year ago Sunday, Ohio college student Tommy DiMassimo hopped a railing and rushed the stage at a rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at an airport hangar near Dayton. He was quickly tackled and taken into custody by federal authorities.
DiMassimo, 23, is now living in Georgia and says, despite the legal troubles he incurred, he doesn’t regret what he did, and questions why more people didn’t take bold such action during the presidential campaign.
“I think a better question to ask all of the people who consider themselves more on the left side of issues … and are anti-Trump (is) ‘Do I stand by all that I didn’t do?’” DiMassimo said. “Because maybe if there were, like, 10 more (people like me) in every city, willing to rush through that barrier, we wouldn’t have to talk about (Trump’s) first two months.”
DiMassimo said he did not intend to attack Trump on March 12, 2016 in the Wright Brothers Aero hangar, but he liked the idea that some people thought that was his motivation.
"So that people in their mind could think, wow, someone’s willing to hurt this man for the things he’s saying and the things he’s doing,” DiMassimo said. “Not that I would. But I think that’s healthy (for people to consider).”
In reality, DiMassimo barely reached the back of the stage when Secret Service members and others tackled him, handcuffed him and led him away. He was first charged by Dayton police, then the charges were moved to federal court.
DiMassimo was out on bond until July 6, 2016. One condition of his bond was not possessing a weapon, and he said after he went to shoot at a gun range in early July, he was jailed for three days and put on electronic home detention.
He pleaded guilty on July 26 to entering “a restricted area where a person protected by the Secret Service was temporarily visiting, without lawful authority.” He was fined $250 and put on one year of probation, which was terminated early in November.
In addition to taking online classes in Georgia, DiMassimo says he is working “various jobs” that he wouldn’t identify. He said he didn’t want those companies flooded with calls and letters asking for him to be fired. He’s also acting and writing, and trying to find a church that fits with his idea of Christianity, he said.
“I would be interested in a church focused in Christ’s life as a revolutionary,” he said. “Someone who was a fighter for the poor and the sick and fought systems of power and was punished by the state for being a threat to the power structure at the time.”
Asked whether he thought his actions were irresponsible or misguided, DiMassimo said he “couldn’t care less” about people who feel that way, calling it civil disobedience that was worth it.
He argued that his rushing of the stage made a difference, saying there was less violence toward black people at Trump rallies after the Dayton incident. That alone is enough to make him say he’d do it again, he said, although he joked that he’d make sure he was in better shape this time, so he could make it to the podium.
“What I did was a lot for me to handle, but I’m also fine now,” he said. “I’m sitting here in my room about to go to the gym and then go to work later. You can be committed to your community and do sacrificial sort of things and still have a life.”