The two men who will contest each other for the presidency of the United States issued two diverging and patently unique responses to the riots that have followed the viral video killing of an unarmed black man on the streets of Minneapolis on Wednesday.
At a fundraiser, Democratic challenger Joe Biden appealed for calm while also calling for justice for the Floyd family and acknowledging the legitimate grievances of the protesters about systemic racism and police brutality.
“I urge the protesters to exercise their rights peacefully and safely. But people all across this country are enraged and rightly so. Every day African Americans go about their lives with constant anxiety and trauma of wondering, “Will I be next?” Sounds like an exaggeration but it’s not. These tragedies, these injustices, cut at the very heart of our most sacred of beliefs: that all Americans, equal in rights and in dignity, are part of an ingrained systemic cycle of racism and oppression…throughout every part of our society,” Biden said
In a tweet on Friday Trump 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….., which he has the right to do as president.
But then he reported that he had spoken to the Governor of Minnesota. “Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz, and told him that the Military is with him all the way,” Trump said, in a reference to the governor of Minnesota. “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Twitter took an unprecedented step Friday in limiting the public’s ability to view the president’s tweet threatening shooting, saying it “violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.” The tweet is hidden unless a user clicks to display it, and users cannot like or reply to it.
In 1967, Miami police Chief Walter Headley used the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” during hearings about crime in the Florida city, invoking angry reactions from civil rights leaders, according to a news report at the time.