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Trump vows action against Minneapolis protesters

Washington, May 29 (AP) | Publish Date: 5/29/2020 10:21:29 AM IST

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 tweeted after protesters torched a Minneapolis police station, capping three days of violent protests US over the death of George Floyd, who pleaded for air as a white police officer knelt on his neck.

He said he spoke 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. Thank you!” Trump didn’t clarify what he meant — Walz has already activated the National Guard — but the tweet drew another warning from Twitter for his rhetoric, with the social media giant saying he had “violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.” 

The move came a day after Trump signed an executive order challenging the site’s liability protections.

Trump, who has often remained silent in the aftermath of police-involved killings and has a long history of defending police, has been uncharacteristically vocal this time, saying earlier Thursday that he felt “very, very badly” about Floyd’s death and calling video capturing his struggle “a very shocking sight.” But his language grew more aggressive as violence boiled over in Minneapolis on Thursday night. “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” he wrote shortly before 1 am.

Although Twitter added the warning to Trump’s tweet, the company did not remove it, saying it had determined the message might be in the public interest — something it does only for tweets by elected and government officials. 

A user looking at Trump’s timeline would have to click to see the original tweet. Earlier this week, Twitter fact checked to two of Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots, drawing his anger.

“It seems like they’re carrying out a vendetta against the president,” Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, the No. 2 GOP House leader, said on Fox News Friday.

Once more likely to hew to the “blue lives matter” mantra, Trump, his allies and Republicans in elected office across the nation have been questioning the conduct of the officer who pinned Floyd down and calling for justice. But some activists doubt that Trump has suddenly evolved on the issue of police brutality and instead see election year political calculations.

“This is the first race-tinged case that I’ve ever heard him address” as president, said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and Trump critic who has known the president for decades. “I think the difference is a November election.” Trump has been silent on a number of high-profile police-involved killings, including that of Stephon Clark, a black man shot by Sacramento, California, police in 2018.

“This is something that is a local matter and that’s something that we feel should be left up to the local authorities,” then-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at the time.

Trump has never addressed the 2014 death of Eric Garner, who was placed in a chokehold by police trying to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes. 

 

-Tags:#Trump

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