President Donald Trump used a Tuesday campaign rally in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, to expound upon the dangers of tuna fish projectiles, alleging that protesters across the country were using cans of “Bumble Bee brand tuna” as weapons.
“They go out to buy tuna fish and soup,” Trump said, referring to demonstrators in cities like Portland, Oregon, and Minneapolis. “You know that, right? Goya, I hope. Goya; he’s great, isn’t he? Good guy.”
Trump apparently was referring to Goya Foods, which was not named after a person and produces what it bills as “authentic Latino cuisine.” In July, Trump met at the White House with Robert Unanue, Goya’s CEO, who lavishly praised the president. That sparked calls by Trump critics for a boycott of the company’s products.
Trump, in his rally rant, said protesters “go out and buy Goya because they throw it, they throw it.”
As he continued, Trump switched brands and food references. “It’s the perfect weight, tuna fish, they could really rip it, right, and that hits you? No, it’s true. Bumble Bee brand tuna and you can throw that sucker. You can put a curve on it, you can do whatever the hell you want, and the cops in Chicago, you saw it, they were going like this.”
Trump mimicked police officers recoiling from tuna fish missiles, and went on to argue that protesters were professional “anarchists” funded by “stupid, rich people.”
“This is all Democrats, it doesn’t happen with Republicans,” the president added, repeating his frequent and unfounded criticism that crime and social unrest persist only in cities with Democratic leaders.
Shortly after the president’s rally, sarcastic social media takes about tuna fish quickly went viral. Even the Bumble Bee Seafood Twitter account chimed in.
This is not the first time that Trump has fixated upon food items used as weaponry. In July, he told leaders of the National Association of Police Organizations that protesters were throwing “cans of soup” at law enforcement, and that those objects were “better than a brick because you can’t throw a brick; it’s too heavy.”
Trump’s thoughts on tuna and soup may stem from images shared by Portland authorities in June and July showing “contraband” such as bottles, canned goods and paint that they said had been thrown at officers during the city’s racial injustice protests, which begin in May following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and have been ongoing since.
As he campaigns for reelection, Trump has leaned into the idea that cities run by Democrats have become lawless havens ― he has insisted, inaccurately, that Portland was “ablaze all the time.” He also has argued that a Joe Biden administration would seek to amplify civil unrest, despite the Democratic nominee having repeatedly condemned violence and looting at protests.