AOC denounces 'horrendous' Trump tweet about 75-year-old Buffalo protester injured by police

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., had strong words for President Trump Wednesday, one day after he suggested that a 75-year-old protester engaged in a "set up" when he confronted Buffalo police in a now-viral video.

"Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur," Trump tweeted on Tuesday. "75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment ... I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?"

Ocasio-Cortez called Trump's comments "horrendous" and "reprehensible" during an interview with ABC News.


"The president targeted a 75-year-old, justice-loving man who wanted to stand up for his neighbors and wanted to stand up for his fellow black Americans in making sure that everyone is treated equally in the eyes of the law," she told "Good Morning America" co-host George Stephanopoulos. "And to target him when everyone saw on video exactly what happened is just such a reprehensible act, and It just goes to show how far we have to go in the fight for justice in this country."

Two Buffalo police officers have been charged with second-degree assault after video captured Gugino falling to the ground after being pushed by police. He was seen bleeding from his head as officers walk away. The officers, who could face prison sentences of up to seven years if convicted, have pleaded not guilty.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the president on Wednesday, telling "Fox & Friends" that the president was raising relevant "questions" about Gugino.


"The president was raising questions based on a report that he saw," the press secretary said. "There are questions that need to be asked. In every case, we can't just jump on one side without looking at all the facts at play.

"This individual had some very questionable tweets, some profanity-laden tweets about police officers," she added, without specifying any Twitter posts. "Of course, no one condones any sort of violence. We need the appropriate amount of force ... there are a lot of questions in that case."

McEnany went on to point out that 57 Buffalo officers resigned over the police department's decision to suspend the two officers involved in the confrontation.

Gugino has locked his Twitter account but previously reported that he tweeted on June 3 that the "National Guard should arrest the police." Gugino's other tweets reportedly included anti-cop sentiments, including one on June 4 that including the phrase "ACAB," an acronym among left-wing protesters for "all cops are bastards"

Trump’s tweet was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats.

“It’s a serious accusation, which should only be made with facts and evidence," said Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D. "And I haven’t seen any yet."

When asked by reporters if that meant the president should not have tweeted the claims, Thune said: “Well, I think that’s a given.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on Trump to apologize for what Cuomo called a “wholly unacceptable” tweet.

“How reckless, how irresponsible, how mean, how crude," Cuomo told reporters Tuesday. "I mean, if there was ever a reprehensible, dumb comment, and from the president of the United States ..."


Gugino's attorney, Kelly Zarcone, had issued a statement Friday describing her client as a "longtime peaceful protester, human rights advocate, and overall fan of the U.S. Constitution for many years ... He appreciates all of the well wishes he has received and requests that any further protests continue to be peaceful."

Zarcone told Fox News on Wednesday that Gugino had been moved to the rehabilitation section of Erie County Medical Center.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.