Donald Trump called the controversial killing of the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo a “tough call” when asked at a press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday.
“It was a very tough call,” the presumptive Republican nominee said.
“It was amazing because there were moments with the gorilla, the way he held that child, it was almost like a mother holding a baby. Looked so beautiful and calm and there were moments where it looked pretty dangerous,” Trump went on to say. “I don’t think they had a choice.”
The gorilla was quickly killed by the zookeepers after they said the animal posed a danger to the 4-year-old child’s life. At first, it seemed the gorilla, named Harambe, was looking after the boy, but on occasion it dragged the boy through a moat and knocked him against a wall.
Trump was quick to point out that it only takes “one second” for things to go wrong.
“You have a child, a young child who is at stake, and, you know, it’s too bad there wasn’t another way,” Trump said. “I thought it was so beautiful to watch that, you know, powerful, almost 500-pound gorilla, the way he dealt with that little boy, but it just takes one second. It’s one second. It’s not like it takes place over, well, he’s going to do it in 30 seconds from now. It just takes one little flick of his finger, and I will tell you they probably had no choice.”
The question was a break in tone from the rest of the press conference, which also showcased Trump’s most contentious attitude towards the media. Members on Twitter were particularly critical of journalist Hunter Walker, who asked the question about the gorilla.
I just asked Trump about Harambe the gorilla. He clearly thought about this issue extensively. Says zoo likely made right choice.
— Hunter Walker (@hunterw) May 31, 2016
Whoever asked about the gorilla should meet the same fate as the gorilla.
— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) May 31, 2016
Donald Trump is in the news frequently. The zoo incident is trending. So CNN decides to ask if Trump would kill the gorilla. rly???
— John Schuessler (@JPschuessler) May 31, 2016
Others, like outspoken Trump supporter Ann Coulter, applauded the nominee for taking a stand:
Trump’s even right about the Cincinnati zoo, too! https://t.co/AJO7Rfr37v Very sad, looked like gorilla helping the child, but had to do it
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) May 31, 2016