Speaking from the White House Wednesday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest reinterated that President Obama meant what he said when he called Baltimore rioters "thugs" earlier this week during remarks in the Rose Garden. Liberal groups have since criticized Obama and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for using the word, saying it is racially insensitive.
"The President wouldn't in anyway revise his remarks," Earnest said. "The fact of the matter is the vast majority of people who were expressing their concern about the treatment of Freddie Gray when he was in police custody have done so in a responsible way. These are individuals, black and white I would point out, that have in the mind of the President legitimate concerns. After all, that is exactly why the Department of Justice is reviewing the facts of that situation."
"What's also true and what did get the lion's share of the coverage in Baltimore, were the actions of a small minority that were nothing short of criminal actions. And whether it's arson or the looting of a liquor store, those were thuggish acts," Earnest continued.
Rawlings-Blake has walked back the use of the word, saying she doesn't want to use "loaded-language."
I wanted to clarify my comments on "thugs." When you speak out of frustration and anger, one can say things in a way that you don't mean.— Mayor Rawlings-Blake (@MayorSRB) April 29, 2015
"It's not the right word to call our children thugs. These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged. No, we don't have to call them thugs," Stokes said. "Just call them n*ggers. Just call them n*iggers! No, we don't have to call them names such as that."
The dictionary definition of thug: