Trump tweet threatening ‘anarchists’ with jail time has not aged well

Joanna Taylor
Friday 08 January 2021 15:21
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(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Throughout Trump’s presidency, his old tweets have come back to haunt him.

There were his criticisms of Obama’s handling of Ebola, for instance, which were compared to his disastrous response to the coronavirus crisis.

And then there was his tweet deriding “losers” as people who react poorly to “each new twist of fate”, which proved incredibly ironic given his continued refusal to accept his election loss.

With the adage that “there’s always a tweet” ringing true, Trump has previously condemned “anarchists” and “protesters” who vandalise government buildings, recommending a minimum ten years in prison for these crimes.

You don’t have to look very far back to find this one: he tweeted it in relation to the Black Lives Matter protests which swept across the United States and the world in summer last year.

Trump condemned BLM protesters in no uncertain terms. He threatened them with the full force of the law even as they were cleared from Lafayette Square in DC with tear gas and rubber bullets to allow him to enjoy a photo op outside a nearby church.

He even threatened the largely peaceful and predominantly Black protesters with police violence, tweeting “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

(Ironically, he also signed an executive order recommending 10 years of jail time to anyone who damages federal buildings.) 

So how did he describe the insurrectionist mob who broke down barriers and smashed windows to force their way into the US Capitol? He called them “special people” and told them he loved them.

He said nothing of the rioters’ looting, which apparently becomes more acceptable to the president when government property is being seized by white supremacists.

He also momentarily forgot about his love for “law and order”, despite tweeting this phrase in all caps repeatedly ahead of the election. 

The appalling contrast between the response to the Black Lives Matter protests and Trump supporters’ assault on the Capitol has been a subject of much debate.

Given that the president of the United States has threatened peaceful BLM protesters with violence, while placating and even encouraging fascists, perhaps we shouldn’t be too shocked by this double standard.

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