We touched on this in today’s Get More Smarter update, and the debate goes on over one of the most vitriolic Tweets ever from President Donald Trump–so much so that Twitter again took the exigent step of flagging the Tweet for violating its policy against “glorifying violence.”
The original tweet read:
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. 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!”
Twitter’s response: The tweet is hidden by a notice from Twitter — but is still viewable behind the notice.
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible,” says the notice.
A separate statement from the official Twitter Communications account explained that the tweet had been flagged “based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”
“When the looting starts, the shooting starts” is a quote originally attributed to a Miami police chief in 1967, complaining that 10 percent of “our Negro population…are young hoodlums who have taken advantage of the civil rights campaign.” We’ll repeat this for emphasis: the President of the United States quoted a Southern police chief from the civil rights era vowing to shoot black people.
After Trump praised the neo-Nazis and other white supremacists who violently demonstrated in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 as “very fine people,” Sen. Cory Gardner called out Trump in the most direct terms he ever has before or since, notwithstanding Gardner’s call for Trump to pull out of the race in October of 2016–imploring Trump to condemn white supremacists without reservation, and “call evil by its name.”
Today, Cory Gardner’s silence is a reminder of how much things have changed since 2017.