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Trump Calls Police Shooting Journalists “A Beautiful Thing”

The president was referring to MSNBC's Ali Velshi, who was hit with a rubber bullet during the George Floyd protests.

ali velshi george floyd protests

Just when we think Donald Trump can’t get crueler, more authoritarian, or more vindictive, he plummets to new depths. During a campaign rally in Minnesota, the president discussed MSNBC host Ali Velshi getting shot in the knee with a rubber bullet by the police during the George Floyd riots in May. Trump mocked Velshi and crowed, “It was the most beautiful thing … it’s called law and order,” to his crowd of cheering sycophants. In any other universe, a president mocking a wounded journalist would be an international scandal. In Trump world, it’s just another Saturday.

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Trump gloated, “I remember this guy Velshi, … 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 didn’t care, they moved him aside.” He continued, “And they just walked right through. It was the most beautiful thing, … No, because after we take all that crap for weeks and weeks, and you finally see men get up there and go right through them, wasn’t it really a beautiful sight? It’s called law and order.”

Velshi fired back, asking “What law did I break while covering an entirely peaceful (yes, entirely peaceful) march?”

MSNBC released a statement saying, “Freedom of the press is a pillar of our democracy. 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.”

It’s important to note that Velshi was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and is Muslim. I doubt Trump would have celebrated the shooting of a white journalist in such a manner.

This news story will be a blip in the relentless bad news tornado that is 2020. But it’s still shocking and sobering that an American president would celebrate the shooting of an American journalist. It’s a reminder of just how far from normal this presidency is, and how little accountability Trump is held to. It’s also a brutal reminder that Trump and his followers believe the press is the enemy of the people.

Fellow journalists and politicians took to social media to condemn the president’s words:

(via CNN, featured image: screencap/MSNBC)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.

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