Trump Calls Floyd Death ‘Shocking;’ Calls Protesters ‘Thugs’

‘He wants justice to be served…’

Trump Says He Won't Extend Social Distancing Guidelines

Donald Trump/AP Photo

(Liberty Headlines) President Donald Trump on Friday called protesters in Minneapolis “thugs” and vowed that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Trump tweeted after protesters outraged by the death of a black man in police custody torched a police station.

Earlier Thursday, Trump said, “I feel very, very badly” about George Floyd’s death while handcuffed and in the custody of Minneapolis police. “That’s a very shocking sight.”

Trump’s language got more aggressive as violence boiled over in Minneapolis Thursday night.

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“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” he tweeted. “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!”

A strong supporter of law enforcement, Trump and his allies have questioned an officer’s conduct and called for justice for Floyd.

But political opponents doubt that Trump has suddenly evolved on the issue of police brutality and instead see election-year calculations.

Trump recently also expressed dismay at footage of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old black man fatally shot in February in Georgia while jogging.

“You know, my heart goes out to the parents and the family and the friends,” he told reporters this month. “It’s a heartbreaking thing.”

The president has notably left open the possibility of some other explanation, saying: “it could be something that we didn’t see on tape,” as has been the case in other confrontations between blacks and law enforcement that ended up exonerating officers.

Trump has been clear on the death of Floyd, who can be heard and seen on tape pleading that he couldn’t breathe before he slowly stops talking and moving.

Trump “was very upset when he saw that video,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday. “He wants justice to be served.”

Adapted from reporting by Associated Press.