Trump clarifies rifle comments on migrants throwing rocks: ‘I didn’t say shoot’

President Trump clarified earlier remarks he had made about how the military would treat anyone in the migrant caravans throwing rocks at them.

Trump emphasized that he “didn’t say shoot” when asked by a reporter about rock-throwing migrants being fired upon by the military.

“No, they don’t have to fire. What I don’t want is I don’t want these people throwing rocks,” the president told reporters at the White House Friday.

“It was just announced by Homeland Security, you have in just certain areas over 300 people that they know are trouble. What they did to the Mexican military is a disgrace,” Trump said. “They hit them with rocks. Some were very seriously injured and they are throwing rocks in their face. They do that with us, they’re going to be arrested, there’s going to be problems.”

The president then tried to clear up comments he made the day before, which some took to mean he would authorize the use of lethal force against anyone in the migrant caravan who threw rocks at U.S. military or border patrol personnel.

“I didn’t say shoot,” Trump said Friday.  “I didn’t say shoot. But they do that with us, they’re going to be arrested for a long time. We will arrest them.”

At a White House press conference on Thursday, the president had remarked that a rock being thrown could be considered the same as a firearm. He emphasized that the U.S, would not tolerate the violence and would respond accordingly, though he never said directly the military would open fire on the rock-throwers.

“They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back,” the president said Thursday. “We’ll consider — and I told them — consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”

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Frieda Powers

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