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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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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