Leaders of the WGA East, which signify hundreds of stories writers and producers, condemned feedback made Tuesday by President Donald Trump when he informed a cheering crowd at a marketing campaign rally in Pittsburgh that he was completely happy to have seen police tough up a journalist. Police in Minneapolis, he stated, had thrown apart a reporter “like he was a little bag of popcorn,” which Trump referred to as “a beautiful sight.”
Trump was speaking about an incident in May when MSNBC’s Ali Velshi was masking a protest over the demise of George Floyd and was hit by a rubber bullet fired by police. The president had referred to as him a “CNN” reporter and stated Velshi was hit with “a canister of tear gas.”
“Yesterday, President Trump praised violence against journalists, saying it was ‘actually a beautiful sight’ when police officers and others physically attack journalists doing their jobs, observing and reporting the news,” stated WGA East president Beau Willimon and government director Lowell Petersen.
“It is common for Presidents and other politicians to complain about how they are covered by the press; it is not a journalist’s job to curry favor with the powerful,” they stated. “It is far beyond the pale for a President to condone violence against journalists. The Writers Guild of America, East, which represents thousands of members working in news media, condemns all attacks on journalists – verbal and physical – including those issued by the President of the United States.”