Trump shoots down reporter claim NJ club members violating coronavirus guidelines: 'It's a peaceful protest'

Trump refers to his press conference attendees as a ‘peaceful protest’

President Trump addresses coronavirus protocols for political activities.

President Trump dismissed claims Friday evening that members of his New Jersey golf club who attended his press conference were not abiding by state coronavirus guidelines.

During the question-and-answer period at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, Washington Post reporter Toluse Olorunnipa challenged Trump's assertion that the virus is "disappearing."

"We lost 6,000 Americans this week," Olorunnipa told the president. "And just in this room, you have dozens of people who are not following the guidelines in New Jersey, that say you should not have more than-"

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"No, this is a political activity," Trump responded as the crowd booed the reporter. "You're wrong on that because it's a political activity. They have exceptions … and it's also a peaceful protest."

That sparked laughs and cheers among the club members. Critics of nationwide lockdowns and stay-at-home orders have accused elected officials of hypocrisy for allowing large protests to take place over the past several weeks.

"And to me, it looks like they all have – pretty much all have their masks on," Trump continued. "You know, you have an exclusion in the law that says peaceful protest or political activity, right? In fact, specifically, yeah, it says exactly political activity or peaceful protest. And you can call it political activity, but I call it peaceful protest because they heard you were coming up and they know the news is fake. They understand it better than anybody."

After another round of cheers, Trump continued to slam the press, singling out a reporter who had asked him about Russia's purported efforts to "denigrate" presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden without noting China and Iran's hopes for a Biden win.

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"If the press in this country was honest, if it wasn't corrupt, if it wasn't fake, our country would be so much further ahead," the president said. "But we're doing really great,"

The president then ended the news conference.

Fox News' Charlie Creitz contributed to this report

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