President Donald Trump mocked the moment MSNBC’s Ali Velshi said he got hit with a rubber bullet while reporting live in Minnesota in May.
Trump made the comments Friday during a political rally in Bemidji while discussing the mass unrest that has occurred around America since the death of George Floyd in May. The president brought up Velshi during the speech, saying that “he got hit in the knee with a canister of tear gas and he went down.”
“I remember this guy Velshi,” Trump said. “He got hit in the knee with a canister of tear gas and he went down. He was down. ‘My knee, my knee.’ Nobody cared, these guys [police] didn’t care, they moved him aside.”
“And they just walked right through. It was the most beautiful thing,” Trump continued. “No, because after we take all that crap for weeks and weeks, we take this crap, and then you finally see men get up there and go right through … wasn’t it really a beautiful sight? It’s called law and order. Law and order.”
Velshi replied on Twitter and pushed back on Trump’s comments, saying that he got hit with a rubber bullet and not a tear gas canister. The MSNBC journalist also said he was “covering an entirely peaceful … march.” (RELATED: ‘This Is Mostly A Protest’: MSNBC’s Ali Velshi Says Riots Aren’t Unruly As Building Burns Behind Him)
So, @realDonaldTrump, you call my getting hit by authorities in Minneapolis on 5/30/20 (by a rubber bullet, btw, not a tear gas cannister) a “beautiful thing” called “law and order”. What law did I break while covering an entirely peaceful (yes, entirely peaceful) march?
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) September 19, 2020
MSNBC pushed back on Trump’s comments as well, condemning him for mocking a reporter’s injury.
“Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy,” an MSNBC spokesperson said according to CNN. “When the President mocks a journalist for the injury he sustained while putting himself in harm’s way to inform the public, he endangers thousands of other journalists and undermines our freedoms.”
Velshi and his camera crew were fired upon by police officers during a live daytime covering of Minneapolis protests in May, CNN reported. Velshi said during the protest that “there has been no provocation … the police pulled into this intersection, unprovoked” and “started firing in both directions.”
“They now have fired at us,” he added according to CNN.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said that the president was not referring to Velshi when he said “it was the most beautiful thing,” CNN reported. Trump made the comments in regards to “the restoration of peace,” Murtaugh said.