Ocasio-Cortez: Trump tweet on 75-year-old protester a 'reprehensible act'

Ocasio-Cortez: Trump tweet on 75-year-old protester a 'reprehensible act'
© Greg Nash

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezDemocratic convention lineup to include Ocasio-Cortez, Clinton, Warren: reports Ethics Committee orders Tlaib to refund campaign ,800 for salary payments Hispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday denounced President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE's sharing of an unfounded conspiracy theory that the elderly protester shoved to the ground by police in Buffalo, N.Y., may have been an "ANTIFA provocateur," calling Trump's tweet a "reprehensible act." 

"It was horrendous and horrific," Ocasio-Cortez said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "The president targeted a 75-year-old, justice-loving man who wanted to stand up for his neighbors and wanted to stand up for his fellow black Americans in making sure that everyone is treated equally in the eyes of the law."

"To target him when everyone saw on video exactly what happened is just such a reprehensible act," she added. "It just goes to show how far we have to go in the fight for justice in this country."

Video from last week captured two Buffalo police officers shoving Martin Gugino after he approached them during a protest against police brutality. The 75-year-old staggered and fell backward, hitting his head on the sidewalk. He was then seen lying motionless on the ground as blood pooled on the sidewalk and officers walked by him.   

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Trump, appearing to refer to a report from the right-wing One America News Network, shared on Twitter that "Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment."

"I watched, he fell harder than was pushed," the president added. "Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?"

The tweet was roundly condemned by Democratic lawmakers, as well as some Republicans. New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoMTV moves awards show performances outside Overnight Health Care: Trump to take executive action after coronavirus talks collapse | Vaccine official says he'd resign if pressured politically Cuomo says New York schools can reopen in-person this fall MORE (D) said that the president should apologize, while Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyFrom a Republican donor to Senate GOP: Remove marriage penalty or risk alienating voters Tennessee primary battle turns nasty for Republicans NRCC poll finds McBath ahead of Handel in Georgia MORE (R-Utah) called the remarks "shocking" and said he wouldn't “dignify it with any further comment.”

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Asked about Trump's comments, Gugino told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, "no comment other than Black Lives Matter." He added that he had recently left an intensive care unit and should "recover eventually."

The incident involving Gugino came as protests swept across the nation in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25. Several demonstrations have devolved into violent confrontations between police and protesters, with officers firing tear gas and pepper bullets to disperse crowds in some cities. 

The two Buffalo officers who shoved Gugino to the ground, Aaron Torgalski and Robert McCabe, have been charged with assault and pleaded not guilty.