A timeline of all the awful things Trump tweeted while protesters were tear gassed outside the White House

Joanna Taylor
Tuesday 02 June 2020 08:15
news

Tear gas and rubber bullets were fired at protesters outside the White House as Trump made a speech condemning the "riots and lawlessness" sweeping America.

The president called on state governors to deploy the National Guard to "dominate the streets", as crowds chanting "Black Lives Matter" were forcibly dispersed by police.

Footage shared by the Associated Press captured the moment protesters united in the streets of Washington DC were suddenly struck by tear gas. Many of the hundreds of peaceful protesters had their hands in the air as police in riot gear rushed in.

But compassion for the protesters or their cause was far from the president's mind in the aftermath of his rose garden speech. In fact, Trump once again took to Twitter to condemn what he described as the "anarchy" of the "radical left".

In one tweet, Trump accused the "people" of his presidential rival Joe Biden of "working to get Anarchists out of jail". At least 13 of Biden's staff members donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which is dedicated to raising bail money for people arrested during the Black Lives Matter protests.

Never one to shy away from a conspiracy theory, Trump then added that Biden's "Radical Left" staff would be the "real power" in government if Biden were to be elected president.

Trump also shared a statement made by speaker of the house of representatives Newt Gingrich on Fox and Friends in which he said that protesters should be in jail.

Around 40,000 protesters gathered outside a World Trade Organisation conference in Seattle in 1999. Reasons for protesting varied among those in the crowd, but included protection of the environment, labour issues and unions and consumer protection. Some of the protesters were anarchists.

That these anarchists should be making up Black Lives Matter protests in response to the death of George Floyd 21 years later is an absurd claim.

Trump's evidence for declaring these protesters anarchists is, apparently, the fact that a few of them stood on picnic benches.

Trump also shared a tweet from former Arkansas senator Tom Cotton who wrote "let's see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they're facing off with the 101st Airborne Division".

Cotton was swiftly reminded that the 101st Airborne Division actually opposed fascists during the Second World War.

Cotton's tweet was likely a reference to Trump's recent declaration that he was designating Antifa, a disparate movement of people who oppose fascism through direct action, as a "terrorist organisation".

He does not actually have the authority to do this.

Trump also declared a CNN report that showed his rose garden speech side-by-side with police clashing with protesters "fake news".

Police began moving protesters along at 18:32 EST on 1 June and fired tear gas at 18:35pm. Trump began speaking at 18:44pm. The chyron along the bottom of CNN's screen clearly states "Trump speaking after tear gas fired at protesters near WH".

Trump also retweeted a tweet from US talk show host Geraldo Rivera who referred to the Black Lives Matters protests as the "pillaging & rape of our cities".

After making his rose garden address, Trump walked to St John's Episcopal Church which had been set fire to the day before.

Protesters were forcibly cleared out of Lafayette Square in order for him to do so, reportedly because he was angry at reports that he had hid from protesters in the White House bunker.

Trump's response to the protests demonstrate a wilful ignorance of what is happening and why. Rather than seeing thousands of people protest in anger and hurt over racist police brutality, he is choosing to see anarchists and far left extremists looting and destroying property.

As such, his Twitter presents a one-sided view of what is going on in America as he calls for further violence to be used against protesters.

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