As racial tensions in the United States spark to an all-time high and massive protests rock the city where a Black man was murdered by a police officer in cold blood, President Trump took it upon himself to make the situation worse with a series of stunningly vile threats against the city of Minneapolis’ leadership and the protesters.
In his tweets, Trump threatened to send in the National Guard to “bring the city under control” if “radical left Mayor Jacob Frey” couldn’t pacify the rioters lashing out in fury over the killing of George Floyd by Officer Derek Chauvin. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the President went on to disparage the protesters as “thugs” — a racially charged code word among white supremacists — and appeared to threaten to order the military to shoot protesters on sight if any more property damage occurred.
….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
Twitter censored his second Tweet for glorifying violence but failed to take it down; the utter uselessness of their meager attempt to keep the President’s lies and incitements in check was immediately exposed by Trump simply using the official White House account to get around the censor — which, as you can see above, doesn’t even show up in a website embed.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” https://t.co/GDwAydcAOw
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 29, 2020
His violent threats against the angry protesters in Minneapolis stand in sharp contrast to the kid gloves he took to the anti-quarantine “protests” that his wealthy friends astroturfed in neighboring Michigan.
The selfish gun-toting right-wingers who invaded the statehouse and threatened legislators so that they could get haircuts and go to Applebees while potentially spreading a deadly disease to the vulnerable were praised as “very good people” with whom city leadership should listen to and “make a deal.”
The president’s words make it clear that he has no problem with what happened to George Floyd and no understanding of why the protesters are angry. They’re just more angry “thugs,” like the NFL players who he demonized for months on end in a deliberate attempt to inflame racial strife and rile up his racist supporters.
Trump made it clear a long time ago that he stands with racist police officers — who he’s openly encouraged to be more brutal — and with America’s white supremacists. His appalling reaction to these riots is just more evidence of why we cannot afford another four years of him in office.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.