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Trump mocks reporters who were roughed up by police during protests

President Trump on Tuesday mocked journalists who were hit with rubber bullets and assailed by police while covering protests against racial injustice this summer.

The president, during a rally in Pennsylvania, recounted watching the demonstrations play out as he lamented that law enforcement had not been allowed to go in and break up the protests. But he was more gleeful when describing how MSNBC's Ali Velshi was hit in the knee with a rubber bullet, though he misidentified the reporter and the object that struck him.

"Remember that beautiful sight? The street was a mess," Trump said, describing Minneapolis. "That idiot reporter from CNN got hit on the knee with a can of tear gas, right? And he went down. 'I've been hit. I've been hit.'" 

"But he went down, and he didn't like it. He was hit. 'Police brutality,'" Trump shouted mockingly.

Trump went on to describe how the National Guard had been allowed to clear out unruly demonstrations in Minneapolis, saying the city "was cured" by the crackdown.

"They'd grab one guy. 'I'm a reporter. I'm a reporter,'" Trump said, imitating the scene. "They threw him aside like he was a little bag of popcorn.

"Honestly, when you watch the crap that we've all had to take so long, when you see that - you don't want to do that - but when you see it, it's actually a beautiful sight," Trump added.

Trump made a similar remark about Velshi at a rally over the weekend.

"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 responded on Twitter.

The summer was marked by nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks.

Reporters on the ground documented being detained by law enforcement at various demonstrations, and a journalist covering a recent Los Angeles protest was pinned to the ground in an incident caught on video.

The president frequently derides reporters as "fake news" and has called several outlets the "enemy of the people." He has blamed reporters for tensions across the country, including after a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

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