President Donald Trump praised protesters in Boston on Saturday, after an estimated 40,000 people arrived in the city to challenge a planned free speech rally of about 300 right-leaning people.
“Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
The protests were contentious but lacked the same level of violence demonstrated in Charlottesville after riot police dispersed the rally.
“I want to applaud the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate,” Trump wrote. “Our country will soon come together as one!”
Trump unexpectedly praised the counter-protesters after he criticized many of them as “anti-police agitators.”
He also praised the Boston mayor and law enforcement officials for a quick response.
“Police are looking tough and smart! Thank you,” he wrote. According to the Boston Police Department, 27 arrests were made. The Boston Police commissioner confirmed that “bottles of urine” and other items were thrown at the police officers.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 19, 2017
Trump’s first tweet misspelled the word “heal” as “heel” before he deleted and corrected it, prompting jeers from his critics.