WASHINGTON — Democrats on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for what they said was inciting violence by protesters in Minneapolis demonstrating over the death of George Floyd while in police custody.
Joe Biden, the apparent 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, tweeted: “I will not lift the President’s tweet. I will not give him that amplification. But he is calling for violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many. I’m furious, and you should be too.”
Biden was referring to Trump’s tweet from early Friday morning when Trump said: “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to 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!”
Twitter labeled Trump’s tweet as one that violated the company’s policy because it glorified violence in the last line.
Hillary Clinton tweeted that Trump is “calling for violence against American citizens.”
“That is so wrong. We need honest reckoning and reconciliation,” Clinton wrote. “If you haven’t already joined the work to replace him in November, start now.”
The phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” was used by Miami’s police chief, Walter Headley, in 1967, when he addressed his department’s crackdown on “slum hoodlums” who he claimed were taking advantage of the civil rights movement. Headley was denounced by civil rights leaders at the time and called a racist by some.
Referring to the historical connotation, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., tweeted, “I doubt the President knows this history, but I don’t doubt he knows exactly what he’s doing and what sentiments he’s trying to appeal to. Just as he did after Charlottesville and when he took out his newspaper ads calling for the death penalty for the Central Park Five.”
Taylor Swift also weighed in on Twitter: “After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? ‘When the looting starts the shooting starts’??? We will vote you out in November. @realdonaldtrump.”