A tweet from Donald J. Trump about the protests in Minneapolis, which were started amid a lack of charges being brought against the officers involved in the death of George Floyd, now includes a warning about "glorifying violence."
In the tweet, Trump referred to protesters as "thugs" and threatened to have the military engage in shooting them.
"Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the military is with him all the way," Trump said. "Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!" Before viewing the tweet, users are now greeted with a warning that Trump violated the site's rules about glorifying violence.
"However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the tweet to remain accessible," the message states.
Early Friday morning, Trump responded to Twitter's decision to flag his tweet as having glorified violence. Echoing comments he's previously made about social media, Trump whined by way of a claim that Twitter has "targeted" right-wing figures. Also on Friday, the official White House account shared the same message:
The White House later sent out another tweet arguing that Trump "did not glorify violence " and went on to criticize Twitter and its CEO, Jack Dorsey.
The President did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it.@Jack and Twitter's biased, bad-faith "fact-checkers" have made it clear: Twitter is a publisher, not a platform. https://t.co/lTm3Pxxaqg— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 29, 2020
The horrific “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” line has been attributed to a 1967 order by segregationist Miami Police Chief Walter Headley. The New York Times writes it came “after he dispatched police officers carrying shotguns to patrol the center city during a wave of violent crime.” Another vicious Headley line from the time: “This is war. We don’t mind being accused of police brutality. They haven’t seen anything yet.”
Earlier this week, following his public threats against social media companies, Trump announced an executive order that legal experts have since assessed—per NPR—as likely having no "practical effect" that was instead put forth as mere theater.
"It flies in the face of 25 years of judicial precedent, that has been federal precedent in almost every circuit court," Kate Klonick, a St. John’s University School of Law professor, said of the move.