Foto: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via Getty Images The Target store on Lake Street in Minneapolis was looted on the second day of protests after the death of George Floyd.

Trump claims his 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts' remarks weren't a call to violence but instead a 'fact'


On Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump tried to explain his “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” tweet about the protests in Minneapolis, confusingly claiming the remarks – which Twitter flagged as glorifying violence – were “spoken as a fact, not as a statement.”

About 1 a.m. on Friday, Trump threatened to send the military to Minneapolis as protests and widespread unrest escalated in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died shortly after a white officer knelt on his neck for several minutes during an arrest.

“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 on Twitter.

Twitter then posted a “public interest notice” on the tweet, blocking users from liking, replying, or retweeting it but leaving it up and available to view.

On Friday afternoon, Trump attempted to clarify his comments in another Twitter thread.

“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot,” Trump tweeted, referring to people who were shot as part of separate protests over the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a black woman in Kentucky killed in her own home as part of no-knock police raid.

“It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement,” Trump added. “It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!”
Foto: Trump’s tweet posted early on Friday morning, which Twitter flagged as violating its rules. Source: Screenshot via Twitter

In a series of tweets, Twitter’s communications team said the language “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” ran afoul of their policies against promoting and glorifying violence “based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”

Insider reported earlier today that the line “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” was coined in the 1960s by Walter Headley, a former chief of the Miami Police Department, whose actions in the position were responsible for racial unrest and riots in that city.

On Friday afternoon, prosecutors announced that one of the four officers involved in the arrest, Derek Chauvin, who was caught on video pinning his knee on Floyd’s neck, had been taken into custody and charged with third-degree murder.