Donald Trump doubles-down on 'when looting starts, shooting starts' tweet

29 May 2020, 20:55

Mr Trump stood by his controversial original tweet
Mr Trump stood by his controversial original tweet. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Donald Trump has doubled-down on his controversial "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" tweet which had him flagged for allegedly glorifying violence.

The president threatened to take action to bring Minneapolis “under control", calling violent protesters "thugs."

His original tweets said: "I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. 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.

"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!"

They came amid widespread protests, looting and violence in the wake of George Floyd's death - a black man who died in the hands of police custody.

The tweet was flagged by Twitter as violating rules about "glorifying violence".

But in a recent message, Mr Trump stood by his comments and claimed they were "spoken as a fact, not as a statement".

He said: "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 seven people shot.

"I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means.

"It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media.

"Honour the memory of George Floyd!"

The White House denied that the president ever glorified violence and said that "he clearly condemned it".

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden said he spoke to the family of George Floyd and that now was "no time for incendiary tweets. No time to incite violence".

"This is time for real leadership," he said, in a reference to Mr Trump.

Twitter's move further escalated tensions between the White House and the social media platform with Donald Trump threatening to shut down Twitter.

On Friday the company said it had flagged the tweet “in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts”.

During the video of George Floyd's arrest, white police officer Derek Chauvin can be seen kneeling on his neck. Mr Floyd can also be heard saying that he "cannot breathe" moments before he stops moving.

Chauvin has since been charged with third-degree murder over the death of George Floyd.