'I really think they had no choice': Donald Trump speaks out on gorilla shooting

Donald TrumpScreenshot/CNNDonald Trump.

Donald Trump was asked Tuesday during a press conference about the gorilla that was shot and killed at the Cincinnati Zoo last weekend after a 3-year-old boy fell into its enclosure.

The gorilla was shot by zoo officials after it dragged the small child through its habitat. Footage of the interaction showed the gorilla, Harambe, looking as if it was protecting the child at first before becoming rattled by the screaming outside the enclosure.

“I think it’s a very tough call,” Trump said. “It was amazing because there were moments with that gorilla the way he held that child where it looks like a mother holding a baby, looked so beautiful and calm.”

“And there were moments where it looked pretty dangerous,” he continued. “I don’t think they had a choice. I mean, probably, they didn’t have a choice. You had a young child where their life was at stake. I mean, you know it’s too bad there wasn’t another way.”

He added that he thought it was “so beautiful” to watch “that powerful” gorilla interact with the child at first.

“But it just takes one second, just one second. It’s not like it’s, ‘Oh, it’s going to take place over 30 seconds from now,'” Trump continued. “It just takes one little flick of his finger and I will tell you they probably had no choice.”

The killing of Harambe sparked a firestorm, with many lambasting the child’s parents for losing track of the child. Animal-rights activists started a Change.org petition to hold the boy’s parents accountable, and it garnered more than 335,000 signatures as of noon Tuesday. The parents have not been charged by Cincinnati authorities.

Many reacted with shock on Twitter that Trump was even asked about the gorilla shooting:

Watch Trump’s answer below:

Donald Trump on the Cincinnati Zoo: “I don’t think they had a choice” https://t.co/YGwYc55IZ0 https://t.co/2Nvv8MGtBL
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 31, 2016

NOW WATCH: Trump is fuming over this attack ad from a pro-Hillary super PAC

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.