The hostile rhetoric of President Donald Trump is believed to have played a factor in a number of atrocities from the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting to the distribution of homemade bombs to prominent Democrats and media members by one of his supporters.
Now, Trump's recent words regarding his military response to the thousands of refugees attempting to reach the United States border are being used to justify violence yet again.
In a speech on Thursday, Trump insinuated that refugees in the caravan would be shot for throwing rocks:
"They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like what they did to the Mexican military and police I say consider it a rifle."
Now, in a sinister twist, just one day after Trump's aggressive words the Nigerian government has shared the clip on Twitter in order to justify its own acts of violence.
The Nigerian military shocked the world on Monday when soldiers opened fire on over 1,000 Shia protesters. The army said three were killed, but those who were there insist that the number is at least 40. Human rights organizations like Amnesty International have condemned the killings.
When asked about the tweet, a spokesman for the Nigerian army said:
“We released that video to say if President Trump can say that rocks are as good as a rifle, who is Amnesty International? What are they then saying? What did David use to kill Goliath? So a stone is a weapon.”
Many saw the army's endorsement of Trump's comments as an example of the harm in his rhetoric.
Trump wasn't the only one called out for the tweet.
The Nigerian army was criticized for using Trump's words to justify its inhumane actions.
It is indeed interesting that the country's army would use Donald Trump to bolster its actions. Trump reportedly once said that once Nigerian immigrants had seen the United States, they would "never go back to their huts" in Africa.
One Nigerian broadcaster said of Trump's comments at the time:
“For someone in that position he should know better, and he doesn’t even try, he isn’t attempting to expand his knowledge base. In Africa, we are normal human beings.”
Now, the use of Trump's words as an endorsement of atrocities by the Nigerian army could threaten to take the lives of even more of its citizens.