President Donald Trump threatened to crack down on protesters expected to show up at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla., on Saturday, the first such event since the coronavirus pandemic sidelined his campaign schedule.
“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted on Friday. “It will be a much different scene!”
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, said Trump was referring to “destructive” protesters, noting that buildings have been burned, looted, and vandalized during recent demonstrations against police brutality.
“These things are unacceptable,” she said. “And we will not see that in Oklahoma.”
The president’s tweet came hours after Tulsa mayor G. T. Bynum imposed a curfew, citing expected rally crowds of more than 100,000, planned protests and the civil unrest that has already erupted in the city and around the nation this month.
Trump drew widespread and bipartisan criticism for his last interaction with protesters, when U.S. Park Police and other law enforcement agencies used force to clear Lafayette Square near the White House so the president could pose with a Bible in front of the historic St. John’s Church.
The latest threat also drew fire.
William Kristol, former editor of The Weekly Standard, posted on Twitter that the constitutional right “of protesters are the same in Tulsa as elsewhere in the US. So are the 1A rights of Trump supporters. It’s up to OK and Tulsa authorities to follow the law and protect all citizens. But what Trump’s doing is inciting his followers to extra-legal action.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Trump of “threatening peaceful protesters standing up for justice.”
A day after Fox News’ latest national poll showed that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden had opened up a 12-point edge over Trump, one of many such surveys in recent weeks that has Biden widening his lead, the president called the Fox poll fraudulent and claimed it was created by “haters.”
A CNN poll released last Monday showed Biden leading by a staggering 14-point margin. Shortly after, Trump took to Twitter to announce that he had hired conservative pollster McLaughlin & Associates to analyze that poll (and others), which he said is “FAKE based on the incredible enthusiasm we are receiving.” Two days later, as part of an effort to refute a recent flurry of unfavorable polling, the Trump campaign sent a cease-and-desist letter to CNN, demanding they apologize and retract the poll, which CNN refused to do. Earlier this month, he criticized a Washington Post poll, which showed him down 10 points, as a “heavily biased Democrat Poll, just like 2016.”
“CNN Polls are as Fake as their Reporting. Same numbers, and worse, against Crooked Hillary. The Dems would destroy America!” Trump tweeted on June 8, correctly pointing out that multiple polls showed that Hillary Clinton held a seemingly insurmountable lead in the run-up to the 2016 general election, which Trump won.
Twitter labeled a video tweeted by President Donald Trump on Thursday night as “manipulated media” because it attributes to news media a nonexistent story on race.
The video depicts a fake CNN headline that states, “TERRIFIED TODDLER RUNS FROM RACIST BABY,” as a Black toddler runs ahead of a white toddler in the same direction and ominous music plays.
The video then displays the words, “WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED,” and shows the original clip of two children running toward each other on a sidewalk before embracing as Harry Connick Jr.’s version of the Carpenter’s “Close to You” plays.
“AMERICA IS NOT THE PROBLEM,” the video proclaims. “FAKE NEWS IS.”
“IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING,” it says. “ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT FAKE NEWS DUMPSTER FIRES.”
The video of the toddlers went viral on social media last year. On CNN it was presented as what it was — a look at a friendship between two toddlers, identified as Maxwell and Finnegan.
“With all the racism and hate going on I just think it’s a really beautiful video,” Maxwell’s father, Michael Cisneros, said in a video CNN posted online and labeled as being from WPIX television in New York City.
CNN responded Thursday night to Trump’s post, saying on Twitter, “CNN did cover this story — exactly as it happened. Just as we reported your positions on race (and poll numbers). We’ll continue working with facts rather than tweeting fake videos that exploit innocent children. We invite you to do the same. Be better.”
The video tweeted by Trump appears to be watermarked Carpe Donktum, a Trump-supporting creator who has made other manipulated content. It comes as Trump faces criticism over his response to weeks of protests over the in-custody death of George Floyd.
President Donald Trump praised the use of tear gas and other force to disperse Minneapolis protesters, calling it a “beautiful scene” and describing the National Guard’s actions “like a knife cutting butter.”
“I’ll never forget. You saw the scene on that road … they were lined up. Man, they just walked straight. And yes, there was some tear gas and probably some other things,” Trump said in opening remarks at a roundtable on policing and race. “And the crowd dispersed and they went through. By the end of that evening, and it was a short evening, everything was fine.”
Trump’s event at a conservative, evangelical and predominantly white church in Dallas on Thursday afternoon came as the White House has yet to announce what new measures it might support in response to the protests against racial injustice that have gripped the nation since the killing of George Floyd by a police officer.
Trump did not mention Floyd by name in his remarks but suggested the work of confronting bigotry and prejudice will “go quickly and it’ll go very easily.”
“But we’ll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots,” the president said.
He has largely criticized the protests that took place in cities across the United States, including Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed. Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Walz activated its National Guard after three nights of protests and violent riots; on Thursday, Walz endorsed a package of sweeping police reforms.
In response to the national reckoning over police brutality and America’s systemic racism, Democrats unveiled sweeping police reform legislation, and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only black Republican member of the Senate, is spearheading proposals in his chamber.
Trump offered some broad outlines of the steps he might embrace to answer the national demand for action. He told the roundtable participants he was working on an executive order to “encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for de-escalation.”
He defended police officers and slammed calls to “defund” them, saying it means people want to get rid of law enforcement. Most advocates use the term to mean the reallocation of police budgets to social services including housing and education.
“We have to respect our police. We have to take care of our police. They’re protecting us. And if they’re allowed to do their job, they’ll do a great job,” Trump said. “And you always have a bad apple. No matter where you go, you have bad apples and there not too many of them.”
Hours after the event, Trump weighed in on the debate in more provocative terms. “The Radical Left Democrats: First they try to take away your guns. Then they try to take away your police!” he tweeted.
The president’s more concrete actions in the past 24 hours appear aimed at his political base rather than the multiracial nation he governs.
That includes publicly rejecting the idea of renaming military bases whose names honor Confederate military figures — an idea that had been under consideration at the Pentagon — and threatening a federal response to “ugly Anarchists” protesting in Seattle.
Trump’s campaign released an ad Wednesday focused on his self-proclaimed credentials as a law-and-order president while seeking to cast Biden as overly supportive of those who have protested Floyd’s death.
“Antifa destroys our communities. Rioting. Looting. Yet Joe Biden kneels down,” the narrator says, as footage of Biden kneeling at a church in Wilmington, Del., is superimposed over images of violent protests.
“For weeks we’ve seen President Trump run away from a meaningful conversation on systemic racism and police brutality,” the former vice president said. “Instead, he has further divided our country. Today’s trip to Texas won’t change any of that. President Trump is more interested in photo ops than offering a healing voice as our nation mourns.”
President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign demanded that CNN retract and apologize for a poll that showed Democratic candidate Joe Biden leading by 14 points. The campaign sent a cease and desist letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker Wednesday. The network immediately rejected the president’s demand. “We stand by our poll,” CNN spokesman Matt Dornic said.
In addition to showing Biden with a lead of 55 percent to 41 percent over Trump, the poll found the president’s approval rating to be 38 percent, the lowest it has been since January 2019, and his disapproval rating to be 57 percent. Trump tweeted Monday that he had hired Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates to “analyze” the CNN poll, which he called fake. McLaughlin is regarded one of the least accurate pollsters.
CNN on Wednesday dismissed a demand from the Trump 2020 campaign that it withdraw a poll as “factually and legally baseless” and the type of threat that has “typically come from countries like Venezuela.”
President Donald Trump continued to rail against a new CNN poll showing him trailing Joe Biden, sharing a statement from “highly respected pollster” McLaughlin & Associates.
The new poll from CNN shows Biden 14 points ahead of Trump — 55 to 41 — and puts the president’s approval rating at 38 percent.
This morning Trump called CNN polls “as Fake as their Reporting”:
But hours later, the president tweeted again about the “FAKE” poll, this time sharing a statement from McLaughlin & Associates and saying, “I have retained highly respected pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, to analyze todays CNN Poll (and others), which I felt were FAKE based on the incredible enthusiasm we are receiving.”
The statement the president shared says in part, “The latest skewed media polls must be intentional. It’s clear that NBC, ABC and CNN who have Democrat operatives like Chuck Todd, George Stephanopoulos and other Democrats in their news operations are consistently under-polling Reppublicans and therefore, reporting biased polls… Ths bias seems to be an international strategy to suppress your vote.”
The president’s latest tweet about polling got a fair amount of social media attention, with reporters calling out his use of McLaughlin in particular:
When PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked President Donald Trump how the fact that both black and Asian American unemployment rates increased this month could be taken as a victory, he responded with a dismissive hand gesture, before adding, “you are something.”
“Mr. President, why don’t you have a plan for systemic racism? Why have you not laid out a plan for systemic racism?” Alcindor asked before Trump put his finger to his mouth, attempting to shush her.
The president noted that the signing of his bill would be the greatest thing to happen for all demographics in America, adding that his plan would be to have the strongest economy in the world, adding that they’re almost at that point.
Another reporter echoed Alcindor, asking how a better economy could have helped George Floyd, who was killed at the hands of police last week.
“Black unemployment went up by .1 percent, Asian American unemployment went up by .5 percent,” Alcindor pointed out. “How is that a victory?”
“You are something,” Trump replied before Alcindor repeated her question. “I have to say though it’s been a great achievement, I feel so good about it. This is just the beginning. The best is yet to come.”
As the sound of sirens wailed and flash bangs popped across the street, President Donald Trump announced from the Rose Garden that he would use the U.S. military to stop the riots across the county that have been sparked by the death of George Floyd.
“I am mobilizing all federal and local resources, civilian and military, to protect the rights of law abiding Americans,” Trump said in the extraordinary address, which was delivered as police fired tear gas outside to push protesters back from the White House.
“If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them,” Trump said, referring to himself as “your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters.”
To activate the military to operate in the U.S., Trump would have to invoke the 213-year-old Insurrection Act, which four people familiar with the decision had told NBC News he planned to do.
The military police forces would come from Fort Bragg in North Carolina and possibly Fort Belvoir in Virginia and could arrive in Washington within hours, these people said.
Trump’s decision to invoke the act, adopted in 1807, to deploy troops comes as his frustrations mount over the protests that have followed the death of Floyd, a black man who was killed in police custody last week in Minneapolis. The people familiar with his decision said Trump was angry Sunday night at the destruction protestors caused in Washington, particularly the vandalization of national monuments.
Some of the president’s aides have been encouraging him for days to invoke the act, as he weighs options for exercising executive powers to address the crisis. The act was last invoked during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.
Trump’s remarks came hours after he urged the nation’s governors to get “tough” with unruly demonstrators. “Most of you are weak,” he told them, according to audio of the call obtained by NBC News. “You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time, they’re gonna run over you, you’re gonna look like a bunch of jerks,” the president said.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment on the president’s plans but at a briefing with reporters Monday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany left open the possibility that the president could invoke the act.
“The Insurrection Act, it’s one of the tools available, whether the president decides to pursue that, that’s his prerogative,“ McEnany said.
Governors can ask that the federal government send active duty troops to help in cases of civil unrest like the widespread protests plaguing U.S. cities over the last several days. But, so far, no governor has requested active duty troops to assist and instead they have relied on local law enforcement and National Guard soldiers and airmen on state active duty.
Governors often prefer the National Guard forces in these cases because they can legally perform law enforcement duties in the U.S., whereas troops on active duty cannot without violating the Posse Comitatus Act, a 1878 law that prohibits the government from using military forces to act as a police force within U.S. borders.
But the president could invoke the Insurrection Act to deploy active-duty troops without a request from a governor. Those troops would be allowed to conduct law enforcement missions. To invoke the act, Trump would first have to issue a proclamation to “immediately order the insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably to their abodes within a limited time,” according to the law.
In the past the Justice Department has drafted such proclamations. And according to the Congressional Research Service, the act has been invoked many times throughout U.S. history, although rarely since the 1960s civil rights era. When it was invoked in 1992 during the Los Angeles riots, the move was requested by then-California Gov. Pete Wilson, not invoked solely by President George H.W. Bush.
The Defense Department declined to comment on the possibility that the president could invoke the act.
One of Trump’s allies outside the White House, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., urged Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act “if necessary” so U.S. troops can “support our local law enforcement and ensure that this violence ends tonight.”
President Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at governors during a White House videoconference, telling them that “most of you are weak” after states grappled with another night of anger and unrest following the killing of George Floyd last week.
In audio of the call obtained by NBC News, Trump berated governors for their response to the protests, repeatedly criticizing New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, and urged law enforcement to crack down and make more arrests.
“You have to arrest people, you have to try people, you have to put them in jail for 10 years and you’ll never see this stuff again,” Trump said on the call.
Trump called the governors “fools” and expressed anger with Democratic mayors in particular over the protests and unrest ravaging cities nationwide. He was described by one person on the call as “losing it.”
“You have to dominate. If you don’t dominate, you’re wasting your time, they’re gonna run over you, you’re gonna look like a bunch of jerks,” the president said.
The president also called the initial response in Minnesota “weak and pathetic” and called the state a “laughingstock all over the world.”
Trump focused primarily on “antifa,” or anti-fascists, and Occupy Wall Street, which he said was handled well by comparison.
“This is like Occupy Wall Street. It was a disaster. Until one day somebody said, that’s enough,” Trump said.
Attorney General Bill Barr told the governors that the Justice Department believes protestors are heading to other states with less of a law enforcement presence “where they can go and overwhelm the local police forces.” Barr said there needs to be a focus on stopping “professional instigators and the leadership group.”
During the call, Trump claimed to have intelligence showing who the “bad actors” and professional instigators are, though he did not elaborate.
Trump also asked states to enact laws against flag burning saying the federal government would back them up if they did.
The White House billed the event as a “video teleconference with governors, law enforcement, and national security officials on keeping American communities safe.”
Several governors pushed back on Trump’s narrative, including J.B. Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat, who told Trump he was “extraordinarily concerned about the rhetoric that’s been used by you. It’s been inflammatory.”
Maine Gov. Janet Mills, also a Democrat, said she was concerned about the president visiting her state this week because of security issues. Trump later said that the governor’s concerns made it more likely he would go to the state.
“You know, she’s tried to talk me out of it, I think she probably talked me into it,” Trump said. “She just doesn’t understand me very well.”
Maine is home to Puritan Medical Products, the company the administration compelled through the Defense Production Act to produce coronavirus testing swabs.
Maine is home to Puritan Medical Products, the company the administration compelled through the Defense Production Act to produce coronavirus testing swabs.
Trump’s response to the unrest has been to call for stronger law enforcement rather than calling for calm or addressing the concerns about police brutality and racism that many protestors say drove them to come out. Critics say an escalation in force would exacerbate already high tensions between protestors and the police.
After another night of protests led to fires and vandalism blocks from the White House, Trump spent Monday morning on Twitter blaming the unrest on antifa and accusing staffers of former Vice President Joe Biden of “working to get the anarchists out of jail.”
Trump had no public events scheduled for Monday, after not appearing in public on Sunday.
Trump’s advisers have been divided over what role the president should take in responding to the widest unrest the country has seen in decades. Some say the president should focus his message on Floyd, the black man who died last week at the hands of Minneapolis police, and urge calm.
Others say the top priority is stopping the violence and looting that have taken place in some areas, arguing that the best path to that end is strong police tactics, not presidential speeches.
As overlapping crises convulse an anxious nation, President Trump on Sunday sought to cast blame for widespread protests gripping cities on “radical-left anarchists,” while adding that the media “is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy.”
The president has said that members of the loosely defined far-left group Antifa — short for “anti-fascists” — have led clashes with police and looting in cities across the U.S. since the killing of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis.
It’s unclear if any group or groups are primarily responsible for escalating protests that began following George Floyd’s death on May 25 as Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck.
In one tweet on Sunday, Trump said the U.S. “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.” It’s something he has previously floated, and last year two Republican senators introduced a resolution that sought to designate the group as a domestic terrorist organization.
Following Trump’s tweet, Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that “[f]ederal law enforcement actions will be directed at apprehending and charging the violent radical agitators who have hijacked peaceful protest.”
Barr added: “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”
The clashes, spreading to dozens of cities across the U.S., follow a series of racist incidents and deaths of black people, including Floyd’s on Monday.
Chauvin, now a former Minneapolis police officer, was seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck while holding him in custody as Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers present at the scene have been fired but not arrested or charged.Article continues after sponsor message
Protests and clashes that have since followed come at a time of unprecedented crisis for the country, with confirmed deaths from the coronavirus pandemic topping 100,000 and millions of people out of work as a result of broad business shutdowns. Minorities, including African Americans, have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 deaths and pandemic-induced economic peril.
Trump addressed the demonstrations Saturday,striking a milder tone than he has on Twitter during prepared remarks following a space launch in Florida. He said Floyd’s death “has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief.” He added that he “understands the pain that people are feeling” and supports peaceful protest, but that “the memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists.”
“He should just sometimes stop talking”
Apart from Saturday’s remarks, though, Trump has not often played a unifying role in recent days. His tweets about radical-left anarchists have also included criticism of Democratic leadership in Minnesota. In another tweet on Sunday, he blamed the mainstream media for fomenting “hatred and anarchy.”
On Friday, Trump tweeted provocatively that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a phrase with a racist history that Trump said he was not aware of. Later on, he said his intent was not to make a threat but to register a statement of concern that armed violence can accompany looting.
Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican, said onFox News Sunday that the president’s tweets about demonstrations turning violent are “not constructive.”
Speaking on ABC’s This Week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on Sunday morning that she’s not paying attention to Trump’s inflammatory tweets. Instead, she said he “should be a unifying force in our country. We have seen that with Democratic and Republican presidents all along. They have seen their responsibility to be the president of the United States, to unify our country and not to fuel the flame.”
Also Sunday, Keisha Lance Bottoms — mayor of Atlanta, one city that has seen protests and clashes with police — told CBS’ Face the Nation that Trump’s tweets are “making it worse” and “he should just sometimes stop talking.”
In his own statement on Saturday, former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, wrote that “Protesting [Floyd’s killing] is right and necessary. It’s an utterly American response. But burning down communities and needless destruction is not. Violence that endangers lives is not.” He added that as president, he’d lead the conversation about turning the nation’s “anguish to purpose.”