President Donald Trump threatened to use the military against demonstrators in Minneapolis this week who had turned out to protest the police murder of a local black man named George Floyd. In a tirade on Twitter in which he complained that Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) was supposedly “weak” and “Radical Left,” he proudly proclaimed the apparent threat: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter attached a notice to the tweet that it was “glorifying violence,” and the official White House Twitter account itself subsequently reposted the same text — which was also promptly censored by Twitter.
In the original post, the president insisted:
‘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!’
It’s incredible that he’s so arrogant that he acts as though he takes some kind of personal offense at the demonstrations in Minneapolis, and furthermore, he talks as if that’s anywhere near the main issue here. Meanwhile, the meaning of “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” isn’t really ambiguous.
The president is threatening to use the powers of the federal government against demonstrators who he doesn’t like. When heavily armed demonstrators protesting against Coronavirus-induced lockdown measures stormed the Michigan state capitol building, Trump didn’t just stay quiet, he called those demonstrators “very good people.” The double standard — the heavily armed Michigan demonstrators that Trump touted were largely white Trump supporters — is obvious.
The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 1, 2020
The White House itself has responded to Twitter’s censorship of the president’s call for violence against demonstrators by insisting that the president was not actually glorifying violence. What on earth else is the threat “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” supposed to mean? Is this some kind of imaginary form of non-violent shooting? Does the White House want us to disbelieve our own eyes at this point?
— emily bell (@emilybell) May 29, 2020
Check out Twitter’s response below: