In one of a pair of tweets, President Trump blasted Democratic Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for having failed to maintain order following the death of George Floyd, the 46-year-old African-American man who died Monday after a Minneapolis police officer kept his knee on his neck for several minutes during an arrest, an incident caught on video that quickly went viral. Frey responded by trying to turn the criticism back on Trump and declaring that his city, sections of which have been engulfed in flame, is “strong as hell.”
When video of Floyd’s ultimately fatal arrest first went viral, Frey quickly made a statement condemning the actions of the officer seen kneeling on the suspect’s neck as having “failed in the most basic, human sense.” On Wednesday, Frey called for charges against the officer. As protests quickly gave way to rioting, Frey begged the rioters to embrace peaceful protests, decrying the violence and destruction of private and public property as “unacceptable.” As rioters converged on the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Police Precinct building on Thursday, Frey ordered it evacuated.
“I made the decision to evacuate the Third Precinct,” Frey said. “The symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life, of our officers or the public. Brick and mortar is not as important as life.”
The Saint Paul Police Department has since reported that there has been “more than 170 businesses damaged or looted” and “dozens of fires.”
In response to the escalating chaos, Trump blasted both the rioters and Frey in a pair of tweets early Friday. “I can’t stand back [and] watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump wrote. “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 [and] 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!”
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
The second of the tweets, which contains the line “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” was censored by Twitter for “glorifying violence.”
In response, Frey said during a press conference early Friday, “Well, let me say this: Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your own actions. Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis. Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell.”
In its coverage of Frey’s declaration of strength, CNN provided a split-screen shot of Frey’s press conference alongside footage of his city in flames.
"Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else, during a time of crisis. Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis."
— CNN International (@cnni) May 29, 2020
As The Daily Wire has noted, while Twitter chose to censor the president’s tweet for “glorifying violence,” the platform has chosen not to censor several high-profile tweets directly promoting the violent actions of the rioters.
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