Trump said he couldn’t not just watch the city be overwhelmed by the unrest over the death of George Floyd.
“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis,” Trump tweeted. “A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right.
A second tweet continued, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let this happen. 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.”
A few hours after the president sent those tweets, Twitter added a disclaimer onto the second tweet, which hides the message until users click “view.”
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible,” the disclaimer read.
Critics on Twitter said Trump’s comments had racial undertones and said the term “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” can be traced back to Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in 1967 as a threat to black protestors during the civil rights movement.
When asked for comment, Twitter pointed to a thread explaining the decision.
“This Tweet violates our policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today,” Twitter Comms wrote. “We’ve taken action in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts, but have kept the Tweet on Twitter because it is important that the public still be able to see the Tweet given its relevance to ongoing matters of public importance.”
This marks the second time Twitter has cracked down on Trump’s tweets. Earlier this week, the tech giant added a fact-checking label to the president’s tweets sounding the alarm on potential fraud from mail-in voting.
That sparked escalated tensions between him and Twitter, prompting the president to sign an executive order on Thursday that interprets Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) as not providing statutory liability protections for tech companies that engage in censorship and political conduct.
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and Gregg Re contributed to this report.