Rev. Al Sharpton is protesting President Trump for using what he says is an anti-Irish racial slur in a speech on Friday, the civil rights leaders announced.
“Paddy wagon” is the term that offends Sharpton, a former Democratic presidential candidate. Trump used the term — which refers to a police van — during his remarks at an event honoring police officers in Brentwood, N.Y.
Sharpton is upset not just at what he says is an anti-Irish pejorative, he is also taking Trump to task for his advice to officers about how they should treat criminal suspects during arrests.
“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just seen them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,'” Trump said.
“When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head you know, the way you put their hand over…,” Trump said, pointing to his head. “Like, ‘Don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head.’ I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?'” he continued, as officers in the audience laughed and cheered.
Liberal activists said that Trump was condoning police violence. Trump’s supporters said he was making a joke that is familiar to many police officers.
Ironically, Sharpton is not attending Saturday’s protest with an Irish-American activist. Instead, he will join Gyalwang Drukpa, the Head of the Drukpa Lineage of Buddhist.