Donald Trump claimed that “drugs are a very, very big factor” in ongoing violent protests over the fatal police shooting of a black man in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Speaking at the Shale Insight conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Trump argued that “law-abiding African American citizens” will suffer the most from the unrest.
“We honor and recognize the right of all Americans to peacefully assemble, protest and demonstrate,” he said. “But there is no right to engage in violent disruption or to threaten the public safety and peace of others.”
Trump went on to condemn “rampant” crime in “these communities,” proposing an increase in law enforcement and community engagement to stem “a national crisis.”
“There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor and will never be accepted in a Trump administration,” Trump added, saying that the “riots” in Charlotte “must be brought to a very rapid end.”
Trump also claimed that drugs had played a major part in the escalation of the protests. “In case you’re not aware, drugs are a very, very big factor in what you’re watching on television at night,” he said.
There is no indication that drugs had anything to do with the unrest in Charlotte, where a second night of protests over the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott turned violent on Wednesday night.
One protestor who suffered a gunshot wound was hospitalized in critical condition, and police fired rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd while protestors smashed windows of cars and local businesses using rocks and bottles, according to reports.
And watch the later segment via CNN:
Trump on Charlotte protests: “Drugs are a very, very big factor in what you’re watching on television at night” https://t.co/dJn3PTP683
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) September 22, 2016
This post has been updated.