"These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen," President Trump tweeted on Thursday. "Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
As you can probably guess, the outrage media and others are fuming over that second word the president chose to use in his response to the Minneapolis riots, because of its supposed racial connotation. Twitter even censored him for it.
Four police officers subdued an unarmed, black man George Floyd after he was discovered to be in possession of a counterfeit bill last week. In a shocking video, the arresting officer, since identified as Derek Chauvin, is seen pinning Floyd to the ground by pressing his knee against his neck. Floyd died in the altercation and all four officers involved have been arrested. Mayor Jacob Frey is seeking prosecution against Chauvin.
The incident was shocking, and most observers are calling it a murder. Yet, in the most unproductive response possible, rioters are looting and burning stores all over the city.
Trump's words have precedence. Back in 2015, when Baltimore was burning due to the death of another African American man, Freddie Gray, President Obama rightly noted that many of the protesters were just exercising their right to peacefully protest, but there was a minority of "criminals and thugs who tore up the place."
His press secretary at the time, Josh Earnest, told the press that Obama did not regret using the description, and Earnest repeated the word.
2015: “President Obama doesn't regret using the term ‘thug’ in describing the violent rioters in Baltimore, spokesman Josh Earnest said. ‘Whether it's arson or, you know, the looting of a liquor store ... those were thuggish acts,’ Earnest said.” https://t.co/9qqQ19fwp0— Matt Wolking (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@MattWolking) May 29, 2020
"And when you're looting up a convenience store or you're throwing a cinder block at a police officer, you're engaging in thuggish behavior and that's why the President used that word," Earnest added.
Suffice it to say, those outraged by Trump's language are picking the wrong battle. More than one person has argued that the violent demonstrations are undermining the legitimate search for justice for Floyd.
Trump has ordered an investigation into Floyd's death.
Follow Townhall's own Julio Rosas as he covers the riots for us on the ground in Minneapolis.