President Trump’s response to the George Floyd protests has been nothing short of disgusting. Not only has he proven himself to be completely uninterested in discussing the policing reforms needed in this country to save innocent lives, but he has also actively encouraged police brutality.
When Minneapolis was struggling with nightly riots in the wake of Floyd’s murder Trump, rather than pushing for a peaceful resolution, sent out a tweet in which he implicitly threatened to send in the National Guard to open fire on protestors and rioters to subdue the unrest. The tweet, perhaps his most vile to date, included the racist dog whistle term “THUGS” and the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
….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
Outrage over the violence-fetishizing tweet only spread further once people learned that the “looting starts, shooting starts” quote was originally uttered in 1967 by a Miami police chief infamous for his racist treatment towards Black communities. Walter E. Headley, the chief in question, also said that he didn’t mind being “accused of police brutality.” In other words, he’s exactly the kind of man Trump would take glee in quoting and the last person a President of the United States should invoke.
The president eventually offered a pathetic excuse for his tweet, claiming that what he really meant was that looting inevitably leads to shooting and he wanted to avoid such an outcome. In a new interview with Harris Faulkner of Fox News, Trump was once again confronted over the tweet.
“And you look at me and I’m Harris on TV but I’m a Black woman, I’m a mom and you know when… And you’ve talked about it but we haven’t seen you come out and be that consoler in this instance. And the tweets. ‘When the looting starts, the shooting starts.’ Why those words?” Faulkner asked.
“So that’s an expression I’ve heard over the years and it really means to…” Trump began.
“Do you know where it comes from?” Faulkner interjected.
“Um, I think Philadelphia, the mayor of Philadelphia from what I…” Trump said, before Faulkner interjected again to tell him he was wrong.
“No. It comes from 1967, I was about eighteen months old at the time. Everybody’s shooting Wiki cause they probably got it wrong. But it was from the chief of police in Miami. He was cracking down and he meant what he said. And he said ‘I don’t even care if it makes it look like brutality I’m gonna crack down, when the looting starts the shooting starts.’ That frightened a lot of people when you tweeted that,” said Faulkner.
“Well it also comes from a very tough mayor, who might have been police commissioner at the time but I think mayor of Philadelphia named Frank Rizzo,” Trump insisted. “And he had an expression like that but I’ve heard it many times, from I think it’s been used many times,” Trump said, before going on to reiterate his disingenuous explanation for using the term.
Somehow, in trying to make himself sound less racist Trump did just the opposite. Frank Rizzo was a notorious racist and in fact the city of Philadelphia removed his statue just over a week ago over complaints that it essentially amounted to a monument to white police brutality against Black Philadelphians. He was a staunch segregationist who urged Philadelphians to “Vote White.”
There is absolutely no excuse for Trump to quote Rizzo (even if it was a misquote). How much more proof do we need that this president is a racist to his core?
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