Trump Threatens Force amid George Floyd Protests: 'When the Looting Starts, the Shooting Starts'
A post from President Donald Trump has been flagged by Twitter as violating its policy on the "glorification of violence."
On Friday, the social media platform added a warning to a Thursday night tweet made by Trump, 73, who was commenting on the ongoing protests and riots in Minneapolis over the killing of George Floyd.
Trump called some of the more violent protesters "thugs" who were "dishonoring the memory of George Floyd" and he threatened intervention — seeming to suggest that the military would shoot looters.
"I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City," he tweeted, adding that the Minneapolis mayor needed to "bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right."
"Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way," Trump wrote. "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts."
According to The Washington Post, the late Walter Headley, a controversial former Miami police chief, was quoted as saying the "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" line in 1967, which the president has now re-utilized.
That implication drew widespread backlash.
"If the National Guard shoots crowds of protestors, Trump must be held fully responsible," one user wrote.
Rather than removing the president's tweet altogether, Twitter explained that "it may be in the public's interest" for his statement to "remain accessible" but hidden from public view unless someone opts to see it.
"We've taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance," the company wrote in a thread about the decision.
The site — which has recently started fact-checking some of the president's false statements, drawing his anger — noted that the tweet violates its policies on "the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today."
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According to Twitter, the specific tweet will feature "limited" engagement, meaning users can still retweet it with comment, but won't be able to like, reply or retweet it.
Twitter put the same notice on a tweet that came directly from the White House's official account, echoing the same sentiment.
The added warning to his tweet comes as Trump has slammed Twitter's decision to add disclaimers to his incorrect posts, which he says shows they are biased against him.
On Tuesday, the platform added buttons to two of the president's tweets for the first time, allowing users to seek further information about mail-in voting, which he wrongly claimed would be "substantially" fraudulent.
"Get the facts about mail-in ballots," reads the message on his posts — which, when clicked, takes users to a page that includes further information on the subject that debunk the president's statements.
Earlier this month, Twitter began rolling out new measures to sift through misinformation on its site.
Objecting to the intervention in his messages to his more than 80 million Twitter followers, Trump said earlier this week the site was "interfering" in the upcoming presidential election by making more information accessible to its users.
"….Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!" he claimed in a tweet.
On Thursday, he signed an executive order for the government to look into how social media companies could be restricted for such behavior, though some experts say it is legally toothless.
He also tweeted on Wednesday: "Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices."
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