Political Issue: How Trump handled BLM (a thread of tweets)

President+Trump+is+known+for+being+a+frequent+Twitter+user%2C+with+the+BLM+movement+being+a+hot+topic+in+his+social+media+posts.

Thao-Vi Do

President Trump is known for being a frequent Twitter user, with the BLM movement being a hot topic in his social media posts.

Unless you lived under a rock this summer, you are probably aware of the thousands of Black Lives Matter protests that were held in cities across the world. You may have even participated in one yourself. As one of the largest movements in U.S. history has unfolded, many have noticed how the president reacted to it. How did he lead America as this revolution unraveled? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On May 29, 2020, President Trump tweeted about the Minneapolis riots, calling protesters “THUGS.” Name-calling a group of people “thugs” (and in all caps, nonetheless), shouldn’t take priority over addressing the issue of police brutality. Furthermore, President Trump incited violence by threatening looters with military force when he said, “… when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Twitter officials themselves had to censor this because they viewed this tweet as “glorifying violence.” During a time of turmoil, uncertainty, and injustice, fanning the flames of an already outraged public doesn’t improve the situation. As the saying goes, fighting fire with fire can’t end well.

 

Once again, Trump tweeted in reference to a nationwide BLM protest on Tuesday, June 2. He portrayed the protest to be full of looting, rioting and property damage. However, contrary to what the president depicted on his Twitter, the protests that day remained mainly peaceful according to Vox. The BLM organization states their beliefs on their official website including: “We embody and practice justice, liberation, and peace in our engagements with one another.” This means that any violence or rioting is not condoned within the national BLM movements. As much as Trump associates the looting with the BLM protests, he should face the facts first. According to Time magazine, 93% of BLM marches were peaceful;  our president refused to shed a light on those. While the leader in every government should address violence in their country, the looting and riots that Trump spoke up about purposefully diminished what the movement is really about. It’s morally wrong to undermine what the entire BLM movement stands for. To tie a small percent of violence into a mainly peaceful movement should not be what the President of the United States focuses on, especially in a time of clear systemic racism. Yes, looting and violence should be a topic of discussion and action, but so should the racial injustice in this country. You can’t cherry-pick what topics you pay attention to.

 

Trump posted a tweet on July 1 in objection of New York City painting the words “Black Lives Matter” on Fifth Avenue. He then went on to say how appalling the BLM chant of  “Pigs In a Blanket, Fry ‘Em like Bacon” was. First, the chant Trump referred to has no correlation to the present-day BLM movement. This slogan was fact-checked by CNN and discovered to be chanted in 2015 by a group who attended a protest in St. Paul, Minnesota. The protest was held by a BLM group, but this specific group was independent and separate from the national BLM organization. Trump should prioritize sharing credible information with his followers. Nearing the end of his tweet, Trump claimed that the words “Black Lives Matter” were a symbol of hate. Our own president should never belittle our basic American right to peacefully protest by name-calling people who are protesting against police brutality. We urge the president to not categorize groups as symbols of hate; advocating for Black lives is not a form of hatred.

 

Just two months later on Aug. 30, Trump retweeted a video of a brutal incident in New York City. The video showed a Black man pushing a woman into a train car captioned: “Black Lives Matter/Antifa.” Obviously, what that video displays is a horrific thing. However, the video was over a year old and had no ties to BLM or Antifa, according to the Brookings Institute, a Washington, D.C. based think tank. There was no factual connection between the video and the BLM movement. Instead, the video shows the behavior of a mentally ill man. Trump used his platform to spread misinformation, per usual. This type of inaccurate information can be very damaging to the public and the BLM movement. The President of the United States should release reliable information to the public. 

Someone like the President who holds so much power should make sure that what they are circulating is not disrespectful and offensive. ”

 

With the election coming up, it’s important for Americans to take into account how the president handled one of the most important issues this year. These tweets are just a small portion of how Donald Trump has dealt poorly with the BLM movement. With all things considered, this year has been a strive for justice, but Trump has labeled this milestone as a hateful force. Before his presidency, we didn’t know that Twitter could be such an outlet for angry presidents. After all, the president didn’t handle BLM, he simply tweeted about it.