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US President Donald Trump celebrated violence against journalists during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday night, mocking a reporter who was injured covering this summer’s racial injustice demonstrations and calling the act “actually a beautiful sight.”
The president’s comments are the latest of many attacks on the free press but an overt endorsement of members of the media coming under attack. During one moment at the rally, Trump recounted racial justice demonstrations in Minneapolis following the police killing of George Floyd, saying the city had been “cured” after National Guard troops were deployed.
“They’d grab one guy — I’m a reporter. I’m a reporter,’” Trump said, imitating the scene. “They threw him aside like he was a little bag of popcorn. Honestly, when you watch the crap that we’ve all had to take so long, when you see that — you don’t want to do that — but when you see it, it’s actually a beautiful sight.”
“It’s a beautiful sight,” he repeated.
When Trump was describing another incident, in which MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi was struck in the knee with a rubber bullet, the president mockingly said the journalist was an “idiot reporter” who yelled, “I’ve been hit.”
Velshi responded to the comments later Tuesday, wondering on Twitter why a journalist getting shot on the job was a “beautiful thing to Trump?” The president made a similar remark about Velshi’s injury at another rally this weekend.
The president went on to spread falsehoods about the largely peaceful demonstrations across the nation that are calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism following the deaths of Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of law enforcement.
“They go out and buy tuna fish and soup,” Trump claimed, adding: “Because they throw it. It’s the perfect weight. Tuna fish, they can really rip it and it hits you. … You can throw that sucker, you can put a curve on it.”