Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the Cincinnati Zoo likely made the right call to kill a gorilla that picked up a 4-year-old boy who fell into its exhibit.
“I think it’s a very tough call,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told reporters at Trump Tower in Manhattan during a news conference, which was called to discuss his fundraising for veterans’ charities.
“I will tell you they probably had no choice,” he added.
Last weekend, the Cincinnati Zoo sparked a furious online debate when it killed Harambe, the gorilla who had manhandled the small boy who had fallen into the animal’s pen. Animal rights activists and others faulted the zoo for taking such drastic measures, while others argued that deadly force was appropriate to save the boy’s life.
For his part, Trump said he was struck by the footage of Harambe, who weighed more than 400 pounds, holding the boy.
“It was amazing because there were moments with the gorilla, the way he held the child, it was almost like a mother holding a baby. It looked so beautiful and calm,” Trump said. “And there were moments where it looked pretty dangerous.”
He continued: “Probably they didn’t have a choice. A child — a young child — is at stake. And it’s too bad there wasn’t another way. I thought it was so beautiful to watch that powerful, almost 500-pound gorilla, the way he dealt with that little boy. But it just takes one second, … it just takes one little flick of [the gorilla’s] finger.”