Trump draws cheers after defending crowd at club as 'peaceful protest'

A crowd of supporters at President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE's news conference in Bedminster, N.J., on Friday booed when a reporter pointed out that the number of guests gathered together appeared to violate the state's coronavirus restrictions.

"You said that the pandemic is disappearing, but we lost 6,000 Americans this week and just in this room you have dozens of people who are not following the guidelines in New Jersey," a reporter said while asking Trump a question, prompting widespread boos from the crowd. 

"You're wrong about that because it's a political activity," Trump argued. "And it's also a peaceful protest. To me they all look like they pretty much all have masks on."

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The comment from Trump drew cheers from the supporters. He went on to argue the crowd was protesting the news media. 

"You have an exclusion in the law it says peaceful protest," Trump continued. "I'd call it peaceful protest because they know you're coming up and they know the news is fake."

The exchange took place at Trump's Bedminster golf club, where he gave a news conference on the coronavirus pandemic as well as his proposed executive orders on economic relief and health care coverage

Guests at the golf club were seen joining in the crowd at the press conference. Initial photos appeared to show a lack of social distancing and mask wearing. Later photos showed guests wearing masks that were handed out by officials. 

New Jersey’s coronavirus restrictions require that golf courses limit the number of patrons in an indoor part of the property to 25 percent capacity or no more than 25 people, while also requiring that all workers and customers wear face coverings.