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MSNBC: Trump endangering journalists, undermining freedoms with comments about Velshi

MSNBC said President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE is endangering journalists and undermining freedoms after he told a crowd at a rally that it was a “beautiful sight” when one of the network's anchors, Ali Velshi, was shot with a rubber bullet during a protest over the death of George Floyd.

“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,” MSNBC said in a statement Saturday. 

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The network’s statement was in response to comments the president made at a rally in Minnesota late Friday. 

"I remember this guy Velshi," Trump said. "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."

"And they just walked right through. It was the most beautiful thing," Trump added. "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 also responded to the president’s remarks and corrected Trump on the injury he suffered on May 30, noting that he was hit by a rubber bullet, not a tear gas canister. 

“So, @realDonaldTrump, you call my getting hit by authorities in Minneapolis on 5/30/20 (by a rubber bullet, btw, not a tear gas cannister) a ‘beautiful thing’ called ‘law and order’. What law did I break while covering an entirely peaceful (yes, entirely peaceful) march?” Velshi tweeted. 

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Velshi was hit while reporting live from a protest in Minneapolis. As police started firing tear gas near Velshi and his crew, Velshi said that “there has been no provocation,” adding that “police pulled into this intersection unprovoked right into the middle of the crowd.” 

Trump has been campaigning on a message of “law and order” for months, amid nationwide protests sparked by the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. He’s pushed a message that Americans will not be safe under Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation Trump campaign eyes election night party at his sold-out DC hotel Harris blasts GOP for confirming Amy Coney Barrett: 'We won't forget this' MORE, but the Democrat has pushed back, noting that the sometimes violent clashes between demonstrators and police have been ongoing under Trump’s leadership. 

Trump has also long railed against news media, especially MSNBC and its anchors. 

A Trump campaign official claimed the president's comments at the rally in Minnesota were "distorted."

"Anybody who was watching knows the President was calling the restoration of peace ‘a beautiful thing,'" the official said in a statement. "This was first distorted by CNN, which described arson-plagued riots as ‘fiery but mostly peaceful,’ so misrepresenting what people can see for themselves is par for the course.”

--Updated at 10:40 a.m.