AP News reports that President Trump has called the Minneapolis protesters ‘thugs’ and is threatening to use the military against them.
President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to take action to bring the city of Minneapolis “under control,” calling violent protesters outraged by the death of a black man in police custody “thugs” and saying that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Trump’s tweet — which was flagged by Twitter as violating rules about “glorifying violence” — came after protesters torched a Minneapolis police station, capping three days of violence over the death of George Floyd, who was captured on video pleading for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck.
Trump said he’d spoken to the state’s Democratic 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,” he wrote in the tweet. That language was also used by Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in a 1967 speech outlining his department’s efforts to “combat young hoodlums who have taken advantage of the civil rights campaign.”
“We don’t mind being accused of police brutality,” he said in the same speech, according to news reports from the time.
Trump didn’t clarify what he meant — Walz has already activated the National Guard — but the tweet drew another flag from Twitter, which did not remove the message but added a warning label that prevents it from being shared or liked. (source)
Will Trump actually do this? It is yet to be confirmed. However, given that there seems to be a reasonable suspicion that provocation by police may have been involved in some of the looting and riots, plus the curious lack of action to stop the violence from authorities, suggests that like with many of such incidents, the violence is being used for political manipulation. This is a common pattern in the US, especially when it comes to justifying removing rights and altering the structure of how the society functions.
At this point, everything should be looked upon with suspicion. Violence only serves to justify more intrusion of government and political control over people as well as an opportunity to exploit tension over another man’s death for sinister purposes.
George Floyd is dead. Justice needs to be served, but it is not served by encouraging or even allowing in the tiniest way the circumstances for violence to be encouraged, as that is exactly what the social manipulators of the time want for their ends.