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President Trump’s attacks on the press continued over the weekend, and this time Ali Velshi was the target.
You may recall that the MSNBC anchor was hit by a rubber bullet and tear gassed while covering the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis over the Memorial Day weekend.
I’m hit in the leg by a rubber bullet but am fine. State Police supported by National guard fired unprovoked into an entirely peaceful rally
— Ali Velshi (@AliVelshi) May 31, 2020
Fast forward to 4:30:
President Trump took note of the situation publicly on Friday and Saturday during his rallies, and told rallygoers that he finds the sight of Velshi getting hit “beautiful.”
During a rally in Bemidji, Minn., on Friday, he mistakenly referred to Velshi as a “CNN reporter,” and added, “Wasn’t it really a beautiful sight? It’s called law and order.”
“He got hit on the knee with a canister of tear gas,” President Trump says, of @AliVelshi, who was actually hit by a rubber bullet. “Wasn’t it really a beautiful sight? It’s called law and order.” pic.twitter.com/sVvnZUft5B
— David Gura (@davidgura) September 19, 2020
The president brought up Velshi once again this evening, this time at a rally in North Carolina:
The President continues to rant about Ali Velshi pic.twitter.com/0MfgfuiYvq
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) September 20, 2020
Velshi and his MSNBC colleague Garrett Haake weren’t the only journalists either attacked or jailed (at least briefly) over that weekend. According to the site Bellingcat, at least 50 journalists experienced attacks in the U.S. over Memorial Day weekend ranging from a Louisville, Ky.-based local news reporter to a team of Norwegian and Swedish journalists.
MSNBC’s PR team stepped in to defend its journalist against Trump’s barbs, as did many of Velshi’s colleagues and TV newsers from other networks:
— MSNBC Public Relations (@MSNBCPR) September 19, 2020
In all of my years covering wars and authoritarian leaders around the world and even with their disdain for a free media, I have never heard one of those leaders call the shooting, targeting and/or injury of a reporter “a beautiful thing” the way Trump has spoken about @AliVelshi https://t.co/jFWFWJbrLE
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) September 19, 2020
To be clear…@AliVelshi is a pros’s pro who goes wherever the story takes us. He has risked his safety and comfort to report facts. He should not be mocked. His ilk should be applauded. Let’s stop booing the refs.
— Craig Melvin (@craigmelvin) September 20, 2020
— Lawrence O’Donnell (@Lawrence) September 19, 2020
Absolutely heinous. @AliVelshi didn’t deserve to be shot by a rubber bullet, anyone celebrating that violence has something wrong with them, and it’s twisted for anyone least of all a president to call it “law and order.” No journalist should find this acceptable. https://t.co/1VDhdfoL1H
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 19, 2020
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 19, 2020