President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in Muskegon, Michigan, on Saturday (Oct. 17) where he said that police pushing protesters is a “beautiful thing.” Trump was addressing the crowd during his speech and spoke about the way the National Guard responded to protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota following the death of George Floyd earlier this year.
“Wasn’t that beautiful? In Minneapolis, they came in, these soldiers wore the most expensive helmets in the history of mankind. You approved them,” the president said. “They had their tear gas and they had their pepper spray, which the other side doesn’t want them to use because ‘It’s not nice.’ They can throw cans at you and they can throw rocks and stones and hurt your police, but you’re not allowed to guard yourself with tear gas, pepper spray, which 100% are effective. So they just marched forward. And the whole thing was over. It was like… it was over.”
“I don’t know, there’s something about that, when you’re watching everybody getting pushed around. There’s something very beautiful about it,” he continued. “I don’t care what anyone says. Not politically correct. I’ll be on, they’ll say, ‘He thinks that that was beautiful.’ But you people get it. You get it probably better than I do even, right, when you get right down to it.”
The president also said he would have “loved” to go into Portland to help slow the protests that have been taken place there over recent months. This year, thousands of people took the streets nationwide starting in May following the killing of Floyd, to take a stand against police brutality.
During the protests, officers around the country were captured on video using excessive force against the people, including pushing, shoving, using pepper spray and rubber bullets. The National Guard was seen sweeping a residential street and firing paint canisters at people’s homes, who weren’t involved in the protests.
Trump is being criticized for the language he uses at his rallies, including the way he spoke about Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was recently the target of a right-wing kidnapping plot. The president mocked Whitmer during his speech on Saturday by saying, “They said she was threatened,” and told the crowd she blames him for the plot. The audience started chanting, “Lock her up!”
Whitmer reacted to his speech on Twitter. “This is exactly the rhetoric that has put me, my family, and other government officials’ lives in danger while we try to save the lives of our fellow Americans,” she wrote. “It needs to stop.”