President Donald Trump has sparked a new wave of controversy after pushing an unfounded conspiracy theory suggesting that viral video of a 75-year-old man being pushed to the ground by Buffalo police was a "set up." In a tweet shared Tuesday morning, the president said that Martin Gugino "could be an ANTIFA provocateur," citing One America News Network (OANN).
Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 9, 2020
Trump's remarks came less than a week after video, first published by WBFO, showed two Buffalo police officers pushing Gugino to the ground during a protest against police brutality following the death of George Floyd. In the video, Gugino fell backward after being pushed and hit his head on the ground, blood pooling on the pavement as a number of officers passed by him without rendering him aid. A member of the National Guard eventually checked on him.
After the department originally claimed that Gugino "tripped and fell," Buffalo Police Commissioner Byron Lockwood said two officers, Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe, were suspended without pay. They have since been arrested and charged with second-degree assault. They have pleaded not guilty. Gugino, meanwhile, remains hospitalized with a concussion and lacerations, according to Syracuse.com.
Unsurprisingly, the president’s words, which come amid rising tensions between the general public and police across the country in response to George Floyd’s death, were met with swift backlash. Keep scrolling to see what social media has to say about Trump’s remarks.
This is disgusting even for you— Rich Swinton (@RicoSuaveJD) June 9, 2020
The President of the United States calling the old man an Antifa provacateur when he was a victim of elder abuse is just outrageous. Trump has no empathy whatsoever for actual human beings. He can also label anyone he wants as Antifa, which is scary and extremely arbitrary.— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 9, 2020
Holy fuck. How can anyone vote for this guy in November? I honestly have no clue at this point. Fell harder than was pushed? We saw blood leaking out of his head...he’s 75...Jesus 🤯 https://t.co/ycJ7QO0jiG— It’s too damn hot in AZ (@aHyerPower) June 9, 2020
Wow. Just wow.
No bottom.— Pé (@4everNeverTrump) June 9, 2020
This man is a 75 year old Catholic School teacher. Your tweet is a disgusting lie and baseless conspiracy theory.— John Spartan (@SpartanResist) June 9, 2020
I am actually shocked by the callous cruelty of this statement: President Trump is a horrible human being.— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) June 9, 2020
This is disgusting.
We've all seen the video of a Martin Gugino being shoved by police & bleeding from his head b/c of it.
It doesn't matter if he's 75 or 25, that's not how police should treat protesters.
And this tweet below - is how the President enables police violence. https://t.co/ZKzDFJKO72— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) June 9, 2020
imagine the president of your country justifying police brutality by propping up a baseless, purely speculative story. and he fell harder than was pushed? as opposed to what, somehow falling softly on concrete after being pushed? he's 75, my guy. https://t.co/Vwj4Rl1s79— sleepy boye (@Houcemate) June 9, 2020
You can listen to police scanners on an app. We don’t need a conspiracy president, we need a competent one. You’re condoning the assault on an elderly citizen, a citizen in which you’re the president for. You’re trash, and it’s time to throw you out.— Irishrygirl (@irishrygirl) June 9, 2020
Hey @TwitterSupport please flag this. This man, who is sadly still the U.S. President, is back at it again: spreading false information about a private citizen.
ALSO, NO ONE IS DISTRACTED BY THESE DANGEROUS TWEETS. You’re an inept fraud and we are voting you out on Nov 3!— Sari Beth Rosenberg (@saribethrose) June 9, 2020
I’ve been pretty good at ignoring his crazy ass theories but this is going way too far. This guy was a Catholic school teacher and he’s 75 freaking years old! https://t.co/ZGIGtxthKS— Dude von Dudenstein (@DonnyMassa) June 9, 2020
He's 75 and fractured his skull as a result of being brutalized by police, but Trump and OANN are claiming he was involved in a massive conspiracy hatched by ANTIFA to set up the officers who did it.— Dr. Carl Spackler (@Noonan54875953) June 9, 2020
If Trump hasn't already lost the elderly vote, this should do it. https://t.co/xO8VQEllUI
He just accused an American, by name, to the entire world, while citing zero evidence, of being part of a group he calls a domestic terrorist organization.
That's got to be a high crime or misdemeanor.
But I'm not a lawyer like Billy Barr, so who knows.— Fred Harding (@OPCGhost) June 9, 2020
The man is a devout Catholic who goes to Mass daily and prays the rosary with nuns at his local parish.
Why does the president of the United States commonly ridicule people of faith?— Christopher J. Hale (@chrisjollyhale) June 9, 2020