For many years, Trump hasn’t tried to hide how much he likes a certain kind of protestor.
Trump has often tweeted approvingly, or spoken approvingly, about alt-right protestors who he thinks are standing up for freedom, or who are doing things which he won’t condemn. Those protestors often tend to be white, armed and fans of the Trump presidency.
In April, Trump tweeted about the need to liberate certain states from lockdown, and even encouraged people to protest if they wanted to.
He even tweeted, “LIBERATE MINNESOTA”. Many of the states that he tweeted about have Democratic governors.
When videos emerged on Twitter of a reporter being harassed by anti-lockdown protesters, he tweeted approvingly about it, calling the protestors “Great people”.
This isn’t particularly new form for him – back in 2017, after a deadly neo-nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, he was widely condemned for remarks where he said that there were “fine people on both sides”, referring to both white supremacists as well as the people who were trying to stop them. He also said at the time that both sides shared the blame.
Yet, when people in Minneapolis gathered to protest the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the local police, he seemed to have a different take.
On Twitter, he called them thugs (in a tweet that has since been deleted).
He said that he couldn’t “stand back and watch this happen to a Great American city, Minneapolis,” and criticised the "leftist" mayor of the city. He also suggested that he would have to send in the National Guard.
He tweeted a follow-up where he called protesters thugs and implied that the looting would be met with violence. Twitter has since instituted a warning on the tweet, which says that the tweet violates Twitter’s rules about glorifying violence.
On social media, people are pointing out Trump usually has no problem with a certain kind of protestor.
White protesters take over the Michigan Capitol Building with loaded assault rifles. I never once heard Donald Hitl… https://t.co/YvvN0QvMtq
Some people also pointed out that when Obama criticised Ferguson protesters and called them thugs, Trump seemed to think it wasn’t a big deal, but now seems to have about turned and think the word "thug" is a bad thing.
Despite Twitter’s warning about the tweet calling people "thugs", the tweet itself is still up to view, so you can probably expect a couple more outraged tweets from Trump about that in a few hours.