Trump is agitating, not soothing, a nation now beset by violence in 40+ cities, a deadly disease AND an economic depression.
After he was moved to an underground bunker during Friday night’s protests outside the White House, Trump spent Sunday night again sheltered as violence raged nearby amid protests sprung up from Minneapolis to Miami and Portland to Philadelphia. (Last night the lights that usually illuminate the exterior of the White House were turned off.)
The flames of fury were lit by the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose throat was constricted by a white policeman’s knee. City after city Sunday imposed curfews after days of protests and looting, even as the country tentatively tries to open up after weeks of coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
According to CNN,
Fast moving events leave Trump’s presidency — and his bid for a second term in November — consumed by a backdrop of smoldering cities, 104,000 dead and counting in a public health disaster he failed to take seriously until it was too late and unemployment approaching Great Depression-levels.
Far from acting to restore calm, Trump’s instinct has been to exacerbate the sense of crisis and division — blasting the demonstrators as “THUGS,” calling for crackdowns and vowing to declare the coalition of Antifa anti-fascist and anarchist activists, which he sees as instigators of the protests, as a terror group. But the President’s threats to so designate a domestic group have no grounding in law and he has been more reticent to censure white supremacist groups in the same way. And his efforts to portray the protests as a purely radical uprising are not reflected in the make-up of crowds and deflect from the underlying catalyst for the protests.
Trump invoked racist language from the 1960s when he tweeted
“when the looting starts, the shooting starts,”
which only fueled the incendiary tone around Floyd’s death. The next day, the President tweeted that if protesters breached the White House’s fence, they would
“have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”
Keisha Lance Bottoms, the Democratic mayor of Atlanta, said on CNN’s State of the Union,
“He should just stop talking. This is like Charlottesville all over again.
He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet, and I wish that he would just be quiet.”
On Fox News Sunday, Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said that some of Trump’s tweets were “not constructive.”
But Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday,
“I don’t think there’s systemic racism.
I think 99.9% of our law enforcement officers are great Americans. But you know what? There are some bad apples in there. And are some bad cops that are racist. And there are cops that maybe don’t have the right training.”
Trump went 13 hours from Friday night to noon on Saturday without tweeting and when he finally did it was to call ANTIFA
“a terrorist organization.”
Pouring gasoline on a fire is always his first instinct.
Andy Borowitz called it like it is with the headline,
“Outside Agitator Inflaming Violence Across Country”
Maureen Dowd had an interesting open letter in the NY Times to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey,
You could answer the existential question of whether @realDonaldTrump even exists if he doesn’t exist on Twitter. I tweet, therefore I am. Dorsey meets Descartes.
All it would take is one sweet click to force the greatest troll in the history of the internet to meet his maker. Maybe he just disappears in an orange cloud of smoke, screaming, ‘I’m melllllllting.’”
#WhatSheSaid: Do it, Jack!
CITIES WITH CURFEWS SUNDAY NIGHT:
Arizona: Weeklong statewide curfew
California: Los Angeles County, San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, San Jose
District of Columbia
Florida: Miami, Orange County, Jacksonville, Orlando
Minnesota: Minneapolis, St. Paul; Major highways in Minnesota are closed.
Missouri: Kansas City
New Jersey: Atlantic City
New York: Rochester
Ohio: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo
Oregon: Portland, Eugene
Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
South Carolina: Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach
Texas: Dallas, San Antonio
Utah: Salt Lake City
Wisconsin: Milwaukee, Madison
State of disaster/emergency:
Arizona: The governor said the emergency declaration will allow police to “be equipped to make arrests of individuals who are planning to riot, loot or cause damage and unrest.”
Texas: Allows federal agents are able to serve as Texas peace officers.
Virginia: Allows for the mobilization of resources, including the Virginia National Guard, and pre-position people and equipment to assist cities addressing violent protests.
City of Chicago closed the central business district and the Loop area to only employees whose businesses are located in the business and residents who live in the central business district