On Monday, May 26, around 8 p.m., African American George Floyd, 46, was arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota for passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Arresting Police Officer Derek Chauvin took Floyd to the ground on his stomach to subdue him while another Police officer watched. The take down suppression lasted for almost a full 9 minutes, during which time George Floyd begged for his life saying at least 14 times “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” Paramedics were called and when they arrived, Floyd was none responsive and was dead. The killing and the video sparked protests in Minneapolis and other major cities across the country.
TRUMP’S COMMENTS AND TWEETS AFTER FLOYD MURDER
In his characteristic, combative style, Trump soon took to Twitter as the protests increased across the country. He then made it worse by threatening to call out the military to quell the protests if the Governors did not act.
“WHEN THE LOOTING STARTS, THE SHOOTING STARTS”
On Friday, May 29, President Donald Trump tweeted amid unrest in Minneapolis that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. Trump’s tweet was flagged by Twitter as violating rules against glorifying violence. The tweet was the same language used by a Miami police chief in 1967 who believed that violent protests should be met with deadly force. About 13 hours after Trumps Tweet, he took to Twitter again to claim that he wasn’t suggesting the shooting of rioters. Instead, he said he was referring to gun violence that has been spurred by the unrest.
READY TO UNLEASH “THE MOST VICIOUS DOGS”
On Saturday, May 30, Trump in a series of tweets hours after hundreds of demonstrators had massed outside the White House and confronted officers in riot gear, Trump belittled them, doubted their allegiance to Floyd’s memory, and said they were only out “to cause trouble” and were “professionally managed.” He offered no evidence to back his assertions. Trump seemed to invite supporters to make their presence felt: “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???” Trump claimed Secret Service agents were “just waiting for action” and ready to unleash “the most vicious dogs, and the most ominous weapons, I have ever seen” if protesters angered by his response to George Floyd’s death had crossed the White House’s security fence.
Following are the series of tweets:
Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump May 30, 2020
Great job last night at the White House by the U.S. @SecretService. They were not only totally professional, but very cool. I was inside, watched every move, and couldn’t have felt more safe. They let the “protesters” scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone….
Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
….got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard – didn’t know what hit them. The front line was replaced with fresh agents, like magic. Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would….
Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump · May 30, 2020
Replying to @realDonaldTrump ….have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action. “We put the young ones on the front line, sir, they love it, and….
Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
….good practice.” As you saw last night, they were very cool & very professional. Never let it get out of hand. Thank you! On the bad side, the D.C. Mayor, @ MurielBowser, who is always looking for money & help, wouldn’t let the D.C. Police get involved. “Not their job.” Nice!
“MAGA LOVES BLACK PEOPLE”
On Saturday, May 30, President Donald Trump said he was not sure if there would be more protesters or supporters at the White House but claims his supporters, whom he refers to as MAGA, “love black people.” When Trump was asked if he was calling on his supporters to protest, he said, “I don’t care.”
The comments made by Trump as he left the White House to head to Florida for the SPACE X rocket launch included: .
“MAGA says, make America great again. These are people that love our country. I have no idea if they’re going to be here. I was just asking, but I have no idea if they’re going to be here. But MAGA is making America great again. By the way. They love African American people. They love the black people. MAGA loves black people. I heard that MAGA wanted to be there. A lot of MAGA was going to be there. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but they love our country. Remember that MAGA, just an expression, but MAGA loves our country.”
On May 30, at the SPACE X rocket launch in Florida, and after a huge backlash to his earlier comments, Trump tweeted:
“The death of George Floyd in the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy. It should never have happened. It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger, and grief. “
TRUMP GOES BALLISTIC ON GOVERNORS
CNN obtained an audio recording of President Trump where he told the nation’s governors in a video teleconference call on Monday, June 1, to aggressively target violent protesters he said would only respond to a show of force. Trump was agitated and distress after 3 nights of violent protests in dozens of cities across the country, including outside of the White House. CNN reported that on Friday night the protest outside the White House caused him and his family to retreat to the underground bunker in the White House.
The President told the governors in the call from the basement White House Situation Room:
“You have to dominate or you’ll look like a bunch of jerks, you have to arrest and try people … It’s a movement, if you don’t put it down it will get worse and worse … The only time its successful is when you’re weak and most of you are weak. … [the] whole world was laughing at Minneapolis over the police station getting burned … So bad a few nights ago that the people wouldn’t have minded an occupying force. … I wish we had an occupying force in there.”
On the phone call, Illinois Democrat Gov. J.B. Pritzker told Trump the nation was craving a steady hand from the top and told Trump:
“Rhetoric coming out of the White House is making it worse, people are experiencing real pain. … We’ve got to have national leadership calling for calm and legitimate concern for protestors.”
Trump fired back “I don’t like your rhetoric that much either. You could have done much better on coronavirus.”
TRUMP THREATENS TO DEPLOY MILITARY
Soon after his telephone conference call with the country’s governors, President Trump declared himself “your president of law and order.” He went on to say:
… If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them. … I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights … . “
Trump said he would call out and mobilize “thousands and thousands “ of soldiers to keep the peace.
As Trump vowed to return order to American streets using the military, peaceful protesters just outside the White House gates were dispersed with tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets. Trump addressed the nation from the White House Rose Garden.
According to White House senior defense officials, between 600 and 800 National Guard members from 5 states were sent to the nations capital to provide assistance. While he was addressing the nation in the White House Rose Garden, military vehicles and military police accompanied by law enforcement, rolled unto Pennsylvania Avenue and clashed with protesters at Lafayettee Park.
TRUMP ENJOYS STOKING VIOLENCE AND HATRED
Trump has an extensive history promoting violence.
On January 23, 2016, Donald Trump said at a rally in Sioux Center that his supporters are so loyal that he would not lose backers even if he were to shoot someone in the middle of downtown Manhattan.
“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”
On February 21, 2016, Trump told a crowd of his supporters in Cedar Rapids that he would pay their legal fees if they engaged in violence against protesters and said:
“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell out of them … I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.”
On March 9, 2016, as a protester was being escorted out of a Trump rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he was sucker-punched by another attendee.
At a Las Vegas campaign rally in March, 2016 Trump said security guards were too gentle with a protester and said “He’s walking out with big high-fives, smiling, laughing. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell you.”
In yet another campaign rally in March, 2016 in Warren, Michigan, Trump said of a protester “Get him out. …Try not to hurt him. If you do, I’ll defend you in court. Don’t worry about it.”
In July 2017 during a speech to police officials, Trump encourage law enforcement officials to be more violent in handling arrested offenders when he said:
“When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just seen them thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice … When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head you know, the way you put their hand over [their head]”, with Trump mimicking the motion … “like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head. … You can take the hand away, OK?’”
During a rally in Montana ahead of the 2018 midterms, Trump praised Republican Greg Gianforte for body slamming a reporter while running for his congressional seat in 2017 and said “any guy who can do a body slam, he is my type!”
On October 25, 2018, the very a day after CNN and 9 prominent Democrats, including Barack Obama and Joe Biden and critics were the targets of a pipe bomber, there was no denunciation of the violence. Instead, Trump in a TWEET blamed the media for much of the “anger” in society by saying:
“A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News. It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream Media must clean up its act, FAST!”
Trump told his supporters at one of his pre-2018 mid-term rallies:
“I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them. They only have their hatred & agenda. This includes fake books, which come out about me all the time, always anonymous sources, and are pure fiction. Enemy of the People!”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
A few months ago, as the pandemic worsened, President Donald Trump declared himself a “wartime president”. His appointed Surgeon General even said “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment”. After two months of the economy being shut down and his reelection in jeopardy, Trump realized he was losing the war with the pandemic because of his mishandling of it. Trump has now decided to start a real war, a civil war, with American citizens who are demanding the end of murders at the hands of those who take and oath to serve and protect.
There is no doubt that President Trump promotes hostility, mistrust and violence and he thrives on it and enjoys it. Simply put, Trump is a racist and is incapable of understanding the anger and the frustration of African Americans at the violence they have endured at the hands of law enforcement. He promoted violence when running for President, he does it at his rally’s and he is doing it again after the killing of George Floyd.
Trump has already begun a campaign of promoting civil disobedience during the pandemic by tweeting on April 17 “LIBERATE VIRGINIA and and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!”, “LIBERATE MINNISOTA!” There is nothing that would satisfy Trump supporters more than to blow up our democracy and simply watch as Trump lets the country burn to the ground.
President Trump has repeatedly used harsh rhetoric to trash journalists and political opponents during campaign rallies creating and inflaming an extremely tense and divisive political environment of hostility, mistrust and violence. Trumped has blamed the media for the “anger” in this country, refusing to take any responsibility for it himself.
What Trump does best is to stoke violence which is what makes him so dangerous. His cult like right-wing extremists’ supporters respond favorably to all he does raising fears that they may act amid the violence and tension surrounding public health closures amid the ongoing global pandemic and now the protests over the killing of George Floyd. When Trump says “I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting to end the destruction and arson and to protect the rights of law abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights”, many of his supporters could easily take it to mean it as call for vigilantism.
Vigilantism is not as far fetched as it sounds. In Albuquerque, it was reported on KUNM in the morning on June 2, that the night before, members of a New Mexico “militia,” armed with long guns, confronted peaceful demonstrators downtown. Another local Albuquerque TV news station reported and showed on the June 1 evening news at least 3 civilians armed with rifles had showed up but APD had already left the scene at the time of the news report.
Just when you think things cannot get any worse, Trump encourages and stokes violence. He makes violence more likely with his daily tweeting and self-absorbed, self-center arrogance. After over 3 years of constant daily news coverage and twitters from Trump creating crisis, after crisis, after crisis of his own making, the United States is now faced with not only a major pandemic, over 117,000 dead, a 25% unemployment rate and now protests where he stokes violence revealing a man who is totally unfit, incompetent and totally unprepared to be President.
Trump’s telephone conference with the Governor’s reflects that he is interested only in a “law and order” approach to the protests. His answer is to militarize the response to the protests and essentially declare a civil war that will inflame his base and give rise to violence and chaos in the streets. Trump could care less about the underlying issues of racism and police brutality that have sparked the protests. Trump is deaf and blind when it comes to racial injustice, and will never hear, much less understand it.
The only thing our “Racist In Chief” will hear are voters on November 3 telling him and his family to get the hell out of the White House and out of Washington. Even then, Trump will say the election was rigged. Trump will have to be dragged out of the White House bunker no doubt while clutching a bag of Mc Donald’s Big Macs in one hand and a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in the other.