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White House says Trump "does not regret" defending police in his conspiracy theory tweet about elderly protester

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered no regrets on behalf of President Trump after he tweeted an unproven conspiracy theory about a 75-year-old protester who was hospitalized after he was pushed by police and hit the ground and bled from his head. 

Instead, she emphasized that the president supports law enforcement across the country, and pointed out that 57 police officers resigned from the emergency response team. The two Buffalo police officers have been criminally charged for allegedly assaulting Martin Gugino. McEnany also insisted the unproven conspiracy theories the president tweeted about Gugino aren't conspiracy theories. 

"The president does not regret standing up for law enforcement men and women across this country," McEnany said, asked if the president regretted tweeting about the hospitalized man. 

The president's Tuesday morning tweets about the elderly protester rankled some Republicans, like Senator Lisa Murkowski, who wondered why he would "fan the flames" amid two weeks of nationwide protests over racial injustices and police brutality. Others said they hadn't seen the tweet or declined to respond to Mr. Trump's tweet. 

"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?" the president tweeted without evidence Tuesday morning. 

Here is how the White House press secretary defended the president in Wednesday's press briefing: 

Reporter: "Does the president regret tweeting out a baseless conspiracy theory about a 75-year-old protester on the morning of George Floyd's funeral?"

McEnany: "The president was asking questions about an interaction in a video clip he saw, and the president has the right to ask those questions."

Reporter: "But does he regret tweeting out? This protester was assaulted."

McEnany: "The president does not regret standing up for law enforcement men and women across this country. And let me say this, and just give you a little bit about the mindset behind the president's tweet. Look we're living in a moment that is, it seems to be reflexively anti-police officer. And it's unacceptable to the president. And this tweet that he sent out, he was in no way condoning violence, he was not passing judgment on these two officers in particular. But what he was saying is this, when we see a brief snippet of a video, it's incumbent upon reporters and those who are surveying the situation to ask questions."

Reporter: But is't it incumbent on the president to have facts before he tweets anything out? He's the president of the United States."

McEnany: "The president did have facts before he tweeted out—"

Reporter: It's a baseless conspiracy theory."

McEnany: "It's not a baseless conspiracy theory, no not at all I won't acknowledge that. Because look, you had, let's contrast this to the George Floyd situation that horrific video that we all saw. Every single police officer that I saw across the country came out and said, this is an inexcusable action and I condemn this police officer. In this case, there were 57 police officers who said I resign in protest over the way these two officers were handled. And the president says those law enforcement officers have a right to be heard." 

But even as the president vents his frustrations over the protests on Twitter, the White House says the president is considering possible policing reforms in the form of executive orders or legislation. Republicans on Capitol Hill are already writing their own reform proposals. 

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