Donald Trump tweeted an apparent threat against Minneapolis protesters in the early morning hours on Friday, saying he would send in the National Guard to respond and vowing that, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Trump’s tweet, which also referred to violent protesters as “THUGS,” came after demonstrations grew violent in the city in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Late on Thursday, protesters swarmed the police department’s 3rd Precinct building, where the officers involved in Floyd’s death had been stationed, and set it on fire. This came a day after protests grew violent, leading to protesters setting fires across the city and looting stores.
As many observers noted, it appeared that Trump lifted the threat to shoot looters from a notorious former Miami police chief who was accused of racist crackdowns against black protesters during the Civil Rights era.