During a Fox News interview, Donald Trump had one of the most controversial and racist tweets about the Black Lives Matter protests explained to him by one of the few black hosts on the network.

In the discussion, which was primarily about the death of George Floyd and racial inequality in the United States, Harris Faulkner turned the conversation to a tweet that Trump posted when the protests had just begun and reports of looting and vandalism had broken out.

The tweet in question was posted by the president on 29 May and featured the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts".

The tweet was flagged by Twitter for "glorifying violence".

The phrase dates back to the civil rights movement and was first used by the then Miami police chief Walter Headley who used it as a threat to anyone in black communities where unrest and crime had begun to escalate.

When asking Trump about the tweet, Faulkner began by saying:

You look at me, and I’m Harris on TV, but I’m a black woman. I’m a mom. You’ve talked about it, but we haven’t seen you come out and be that consoler in this instance.

And the tweets, ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts'. Why those words?

Trump initially paused after being asked the question and looked dumbfounded for a short period before replying that it was "an expression I’ve heard over the years" but when Faulkner asked him about its origins he claimed it was said by the "mayor of Philadelphia".

Faulkner replied:

No. It comes from 1967. I was about 18 months old at the time. … But it was from the chief of police in Miami. He was cracking down, and he meant what he said. And he said, ‘I don’t even care if it makes it look like brutality I’m going to crack down, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. That frightened a lot of people when you tweeted that.

In response, Trump actually tried to claim that he had heard if from the mayor of Philadelphia:

Well, it also comes from a very tough mayor, who might have been police commissioner at the time, but I think mayor of Philadelphia named Frank Rizzo. And he had an expression like that, but I’ve heard it many times from – I think it’s been used many times.

Faulkner then gave Trump a short lesson on the two very different meanings of the phrase.

It means two things – very different things. One is, if there’s looting, there’s probably going to be shooting, and that’s not as a threat, that’s really just a fact, because that’s what happens. And the other is, if there’s looting, there’s going to be shooting. They’re very different meanings.

She then asked Trump about another phrase that he has tweeted several times in the past few weeks that of 'Law and Order' a slogan which Richard Nixon used in his 1968 presidential campaign.

Trump explained and touched upon the death of George Floyd which he called a "disgrace".

We also have to keep our police and our law enforcement strong. They have to do it right. They have to be trained in a proper manner. … Again, the sad thing is that they are very professional. But when you see an event like that, with the more than eight minutes of horror — that is eight minutes, really, of horror. It’s a disgrace. 

And then people start saying, well, are all police like that? They don’t know. Maybe they don’t think about it that much. It doesn’t make any difference. The fact is, they start saying, ‘Well, police are like that.'

Faulkner, who is a Trump supporter and has defended him against accusations of racism in the past, was at least not willing to accept the president's rhetoric in this instance and used it as an opportunity to educate him.

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