In a series of late-night tweets, President Trump fumed about “THUGS” protesting in Minneapolis and “dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” the unarmed black man killed in police custody earlier this week. “I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump wrote. “A total lack of leadership. 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.” It appears Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has already done that, activating 500 soldiers earlier Thursday. Trump told Walz in a tweet 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’s threat to shoot protesters was later concealed by Twitter after the social-media site ruled that it broke its rules around “glorifying violence.” On Friday morning, the White House’s official government Twitter account repeated the same threat.
The ‘shooting’ quote was first used by an aggressive Miami police chief in 1967 who declared war on criminals sowing unrest in black neighborhoods in Miami. Trump claimed later on Friday that he actually tweeted out of concern that looting could lead to further violence, which could harm protesters. “Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night - or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means,” he tweeted. “It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement.”