Lamar Salter

Melania Trump says there is 'no reason for violence' in Minneapolis protests hours after Trump threatened that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts'


First Lady Melania Trump said on Friday that there is "no reason for violence" following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes following an arrest.

"Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence," the first lady tweeted. "I've seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can't stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let's focus on peace, prayers & healing."

Melania Trump's tweet urging against violence came hours after President Donald Trump referred to protestors in Minneapolis as "THUGS" and threatened to have the military shoot looters. 

"These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that 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!" Trump wrote.

Shortly after the president posted his tweet, Twitter flagged it with a "public interest notice" which warned that the tweet "violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence."

However, the social media company did not take down the tweet, saying was "in the public's interest" for Trump's tweet to remain accessible, though users can no longer reply, like, or retweet it.

Twitter's decision enraged Trump, who hit back in an early morning tweet Friday, writing, "Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party. They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated!"

Section 230 is a part of the Communications Decency Act and gives social media companies broad authority to moderate speech on their platforms.

As Business Insider's Tom Porter pointed out, Trump's claim that Twitter has not taken action against misinformation spread by Chinese officials is untrue, given that the company on Thursday fact-checked a conspiracy theory that a Chinese government official posted accusing the US army of starting the coronavirus pandemic.

The White House social media director, Dan Scavino, also weighed in on Twitter's decision to flag Trump's tweet for "glorifying violence."

"Twitter is targeting the President of the United States 24/7, while turning their heads to protest organizers who are planning, plotting, and communicating their next moves daily on this very platform," Scavino tweeted. "Twitter is full of shit - more and more people are beginning to get it."

Friday's events are the latest in the tug-of-war between Trump and Twitter. The president's frustration with the social media company flew into overdrive this week when Twitter took the rare step of adding fact-checking labels to two of Trump's tweets pushing conspiracy theories about voting by mail.

On Thursday, the president signed an executive order seeking to crack down on Twitter and other social media companies for what he characterized as censorship and bias against conservatives.

Trump's order called for tech companies to lose their Section 230 protection if they do anything to discriminate against users, restrict their access to a platform without giving them a fair hearing, or take other action that isn't in line with the terms of service.

It also ordered the head of each executive department and agency to review federal spending on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms. And it directed the Federal Trade Commission to take action to prohibit "deceptive or unfair practices" and allow people to complain if they think the companies are acting in a way that goes against their own rules and practices.

Despite Trump's threats to regulate or shut down Twitter, experts told Business Insider that the executive order has a lot of bark but no bite.

First Amendment experts say he does not have the power to regulate or shut down social-media companies because he disagrees with them. Tech policy experts echoed that assessment, telling Business Insider that parts of the executive order are not legal at all, while other sections would require agencies to throw out years of judicial precedent.