President Donald Trump criticized cities on Tuesday for trying to ban police officers from using tear gas and pepper spray on rioters who were throwing cans of food at them.
“They use it as ammunition, it’s terrible,” Trump said at a campaign rally near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
He noted that if rioters were ever caught with cans of food, they would plead innocence, and say they were only carrying food to feed their family.
“Cans of tuna fish. They go out and buy tuna fish and soup. You know that, right?… Because they throw it,” he said. “It’s the perfect weight, tuna fish, they can really rip it, right? And that hits you. No, it’s true. Bumblebee brand tuna.”
Trump criticized public officials like Portland mayor Ted Wheeler, who banned the use of tear gas for crowd control in September. Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales was ultimately criticized and demoted by Democrat officials in the city for using tear gas and pepper spray against the rioters.
“They don’t want you to use tear gas anymore, some places … they said no tear gas, no pepper spray,” Trump said. “How the hell do you keep big crowds back? You can’t.”
Trump lamented that police officers were not allowed to fight back with more force against the rioters.
“They’re professionals. They’re anarchists, and they’re paid for by outside stupid rich people,” Trump said. “And by the way, you know the first ones to get wiped out? They don’t have a shot … the first ones that would get wiped out are the stupid people that gave them the money to do this stuff.”
Trump praised the lines of tough federal law enforcement deployed to push back protesters.
“They never halted. They just walked right through, cleaning everything out, and Minneapolis was cured,” he said.
The president referred to recent violence in Pittsburgh, where rioters acosted an elderly couple eating dinner outside at a resturaunt and started eating their food.
“It was a terrible thing,” Trump said. “That should never be allowed to happen.”
Trump also criticized riots after police shot and killed a person in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who charged them while wielding a knife.
Over 100 rioters looted businesses, set fires, and assaulted police officers with rocks and glass.