Trump put forth an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory Tuesday about the 75-year-old protester in Buffalo who suffered head injuries after he was pushed to the ground by police and hit his head on the sidewalk.
“75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment,” Trump said in a morning tweet.
Citing a report on conservative news network OANN, Trump said, “I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?” He said Gugino “could be” an anarchist “provocateur” but provided no evidence for that assertion.
Two suspended Buffalo police officers were charged with assault and accused of intentionally pushing Gugino, who bled from the back of the head after he hit the sidewalk.
In multiple videos of the June 4 incident in Buffalo, Gugino approached a group of police officers on the sidewalk.
He was then shoved backward by two officers, after which he lost his balance, stumbled back and fell, whacking his head hard on the sidewalk.
Witnesses say Gugino began bleeding from his ear, and video footage shows blood pooling near his head. He was still in the hospital Tuesday.
Police walked by Gugino without providing help.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the president should apologize for “the reprehensible, dumb comment,” a claim for which there was “no proof whatsoever.”
“Do you think it was staged? Do you think the blood coming out of his head was staged?” Cuomo asked during a briefing.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., questioned why Trump even raised this issue.
“It’s a serious accusation, which should only be made with facts and evidence. And I haven’t seen any yet,” Thune said.
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and a frequent critic of Trump, said: “I saw the tweet, it was a shocking thing to say, and I won’t dignify it with any further comment.”