Omarosa: It's wrong for Trump to joke about police roughing up suspects

Omarosa: It's wrong for Trump to joke about police roughing up suspects
© Greg Nash

Senior White House aide Omarosa Manigault said Friday that it was wrong for President Trump to suggest police officers rough up suspects during arrests.

In a tense panel discussion at the National Association of Black Journalists' (NABJ) convention in New Orleans, Manigault was pressed on Trump's comments, before saying that the president should not have encouraged such use of force, according to reporters attending the panel.

During a speech in Long Island, N.Y., in July, Trump appeared to encourage police to be "rough" when they arrest suspects, allowing suspects' heads to hit the doors of police vehicles after they are placed under arrest.

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"When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice," Trump said.

"Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? 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, okay?"

That remark drew widespread criticism from police groups that denounced the notion of roughing up suspects, saying the president's comments sent the wrong message. 

Manigault's appearance at the NABJ panel was met with criticism. New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who was scheduled to moderate the panel, pulled out of the engagement after the White House aide was added to the roster, according to Page Six.

She told Page Six that it wasn't simply the addition of Manigault that prompted her to cancel her appearance. 

"It was that she was added at the eleventh hour, and it was unclear whether we would be able to discuss substantive issues regarding the administration and its policing policies," she said. "Also, the panel was very disorganized, and basic things like format were not clear.”