President Donald Trump has said he would protect officers who “fight back” against unruly protesters during a speech on Friday evening.
The president made the remarks during a mini-rally at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey with members of the New York City Police Benevolent Association (NYCPBA), the largest police union representing officers from the NYPD, in attendance, Mediaite reported.
Trump began his speech by citing several recent incidents where police have been attacked by members of the public. These included an NYPD sergeant who was struck by a hit-and-run driver in the Bronx, a woman who threw a Molotov cocktail at a police vehicle in Brooklyn during a George Floyd protest and an incident where three officers were assaulted on the Brooklyn Bridge.
“You’re not allowed to fight back, you fight back, you lose your pension. You lose your life. They put you in jail, you fight back,” Trump said. “No, you gotta be able to fight back.”
The president then seemingly referred to an incident where two NYPD officers were doused with water while breaking up gatherings around open fire hydrants, although this took place in July, 2019—before the the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent nationwide protests.
“I don’t want to embarrass anybody, but one of the saddest things, Rudy [Giuliani,] I’ve ever seen was when they were dumping water on the heads of two of your fellow officers and I wish they fought back,” Trump said. “I promise nothing would’ve happened to them.”
“Because who even knows that was water, it could have been plenty of other things. But it could’ve been some very dangerous material, not water,” he said. “And they didn’t fight back, first time I’ve ever seen that. I wish they did, I wish they did.”
The president then went on to say that he would have offered the officers involved protection if they had fought back.
“I wish I could have talked to them, I say ‘Fight back,’ I swear you will be protected,” Trump said.
The dozens of active and retired NYPD officers in attendance then burst into a round of applause.
Trump has repeatedly branded anti-racism protestors in the United States “terrorists” and has faced heavy criticism for his heavy-handed response to the protests that have swept the nation since the killing of George Floyd. The president has even threatened to send the U.S. military into some states to deal with protesters.