President Trump told his supporters not to hurt protesters who interrupted his speech last night, before telling them to ‘go home to mom’.
The president was speaking at the Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh last night when a group of demonstrators entered the room.
He berated the anti-Trump protesters, telling the baying crowd, ‘they don’t know who they are dealing with’, as he began to bang the side of the lectern.
When the disruption started Trump said: ‘Don’t hurt them, don’t hurt them, please. They don’t know they’re dealing with very tough people in this room.
The president then told the protesters: ‘Go home to mom. Explain to mom that you tried to take on very powerful people, and many of them physically as well as mentally.
‘It’s not a good thing to do, not in this room, be careful. Make sure you don’t hurt them – please!’
As Trump spoke, one man was escorted out of the auditorium by security as the MAGA hat-wearing crowd cheered and clapped.
Outside the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, before Trump arrived at the venue 14 people were arrested as police in riot gear clashed with demonstrators.
Multiple protests were planned ahead of Trump’s scheduled visit, resulting in the arrests of more than a dozen demonstrators.
Activists from the group Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh began arriving at Gateway T Station a 8.30am on Wednesday carrying signs and railing against what they called the president’s message of hate.
‘You can’t comb over racism,’ one hand-written sign read, seemingly poking fun at the president’s hairstyle.
‘Mister Rogers’ neighborhood is no place for hate,’ another declared, referring to the iconic children’s show set in Pittsburgh.
The demonstrators were confronted by a large number of police officers in riot gear, who ordered them to disperse or face arrest.
When the activists failed to clear the street minutes later, police began taking them into custody one by one.
By 10.30am, all 14 people who were kneeling or sitting at Liberty Avenue and Commonwealth Place near the exit ramp of the Fort Pitt Bridge were removed by officers, reportedWPXI.
The conference is billed as the top networking for American shale gas industry leaders and Trump was the keynote speaker.
As the commander-in-chief spoke, hundreds of people chanted, shouted, danced and sang in protest.
A smaller but vocal contingent of the president’s supporters waved pro-Trump flags and sported ‘Make America Great Again’ shirts and hats.
Four separate protests organized by local civil rights groups, politicians and environmental activists are set to take place in Pittsburgh throughout the day.
The first of the demonstrations, led by Bend the Arc and held at the Gateway Station, was called called the ‘Solidarity Defeats White Nationalism’ rally.
‘We’re here to tell Trump: #OurSolidarityWill protect each other and defeat your white nationalism,’ a post on Ben he Arc’s Facebook page read.
By noon, activists with the environmental group Defend the Water are planning a ‘Day of Action’ rally at Point State Park.
The White House told reporters on Tuesday the president will talk about his administration’s efforts to loosen regulations on the energy industry, keep taxes low and create more blue-collar jobs in Pennsylvania, reported TribLive.com.
The Women’s March on Washington has organized the ‘March for Truth: Impeach and Remove,’ which will get under way at 3.30pm near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center where Trump will be speaking.
In the evening, a peaceful anti-fracking protest will take place outside the conference venue.