Trump Warns Minneapolis Protesters: “When the Looting Starts, the Shooting Starts”

Twitter flagged the tweets for “glorifying violence” but let them remain published.

John Minchillo/AP

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As fires raged across Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd, President Trump on Friday labeled protesters demanding justice  “thugs” and warned that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” He also lashed out at Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, whom he called “very weak.”

Trump’s late-night threat came as protesters set fire to the Minneapolis Police Department’s Third Precinct building, the base for the officers involved in Floyd’s killing on Monday. Shortly after, Twitter flagged Trump’s tweets for violating the company’s rules but determined that they should remain on the site out of public interest.

“Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis,” Frey said at a press conference responding to the president’s attack. “Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell. Is this a difficult time period? Yes, but you better be damn sure that we’re going to get through this.”

Thursday marked the third night of protests after a graphic video showed Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, pinning Floyd to the ground while kneeling on his neck during an arrest. “Please, I can’t breathe,” Floyd is heard pleading in the recording. The four police officers involved in Floyd’s death were swiftly fired and protesters are now demanding criminal charges be brought against Chauvin.

Floyd’s words, “I can’t breathe,” have since become an all too familiar rallying cry for protesters in Minneapolis and cities across the country.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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