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Trump Just Tried to Explain His 'When the Looting Starts the Shooting Starts' Tweet and It Did Not Go Well

Trump Just Tried to Explain His 'When the Looting Starts the Shooting Starts' Tweet and It Did Not Go Well
Saul Martinez/Getty Images

Protestors took to the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota for multiple nights this week in response to the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died after Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on top of Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes while Floyd was handcuffed and face down on the ground.

When officers responded to the peaceful protestors with tear gas and rubber bullets, the uprisings turned violent—leaving the third precinct headquarters in flames and multibillion dollar corporations like a nearby Target looted.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, President Donald Trump's Twitter response only made things worse.

Trump seemed more outraged at the destruction of replaceable property than at the state sanctioned murder that provoked it.

Calling the protestors "thugs," Trump concluded the tweet with:

"Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"

The phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" was popularized by racist Miami police chief Walter Headley in 1968 and perpetuated by notable racists like pro-segregation Alabama Governor George Wallace.

Many understood the tweet to be condoning the shooting of Americans by the National Guard, and Twitter responded by citing the tweet for "glorifying violence."

That's when Trump attempted to walk things back.

Trump posted the tweets as reporters waited in the Rose Garden for what they were told would be a press conference. When Trump finally appeared, he announced the dissolution of the relationship between the United States and Hong Kong and the withdrawal of all funding from the World Health Organization.

He didn't take any questions and didn't address the unrest in Minnesota or his comments on it.

People weren't buying Trump's explanation.

His false reverence for Floyd's memory didn't make him any friends.

The world knows what you meant, Donald.