Trump calls George Floyd protesters ‘thugs,’ threatens to send military
The president accused protesters of 'dishonoring' the memory of Floyd, who was killed after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes
President Donald Trump threatened to send the national guard to the city of Minneapolis early Friday following the third night of protests over the police-involved death of George Floyd.
What’s more, the nation’s commander-in-chief called protesters “THUGS” who are “dishonoring the memory of George Floyd.”
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership,” Trump tweeted in the wee hours of the morning.
“Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right…..”
He added: “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!”
Twitter quickly hid Trump’s tweet and accused him of breaking its rules by “glorifying violence” in suggesting that looters should be shot, reports Reuters.
The tweet can now be seen only after users click on a notice that says: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
….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
Trump’s use of the term “thugs” quickly drew outrage on Twitter, as many called out its inherent racism.
“Trump to the white people with AR-15s throwing a temper tantrum over a haircut — “Liberate” Trump to those protesting the lack of justice in Minneapolis — “THUGS” A whole, racist clown,” tweeted journalist Jemele Hill.
Trump to the white people with AR-15s throwing a temper tantrum over a haircut — “Liberate”
Trump to those protesting the lack of justice in Minneapolis — “THUGS”
A whole, racist clown.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) May 29, 2020
Bishop Talbert Sawn tweeted, “You didn’t call the cops who MURDERED #GeorgeFloyd “THUGS.” You never called the white supremacist mass shooters you inspired to murder innocent Americans “THUGS.” You reserve “THUGS” for Black people, you vile, degenerate, white supremacist, son of a klansman.”
One tweet drew a stark comparison to how Trump described the mostly Black crowd of protesters in Minneapolis to the mostly white protesters in Michigan who stormed the state capitol last month over the closing of businesses to guard against the novel coronavirus.
Trump’s tweets came just hours after protesters stormed the streets in outrage over the death of Floyd, who died on Memorial Day after former Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on the 46-year-old’s neck while handcuffed as he repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
In the days that followed, demonstrations in Minneapolis grew increasingly tense. On Thursday night, the 3rd Precinct police station was set ablaze. According to the Associated Press, a police spokesman confirmed that staff had evacuated the station “in the interest of the safety of our personnel” shortly after 10 p.m.
President Trump had initially remained reluctant to comment too much on Floyd’s death, which was caught on video and widely condemned by elected officials and public figures on both sides of the political aisle.
Earlier on Thursday while in the Oval Office, Trump said he felt “very, very badly” about Floyd’s death, and on Wednesday, he claimed that he asked U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the FBI to “expedite” federal probes of the police incident.
Chauvin and three other officers present during Floyd’s detainment have all been terminated from the Minneapolis Police Department.
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