TRUMP TRIES TO DEFEND TWEET ABOUT SHOOTING PROTESTERS

President Donald Trump pushed back Friday (Saturday, May 30, 2020 in Manila) against accusations of stoking violence and racism after he provoked outrage -- and an unprecedented sanction from Twitter -- by tweeting: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." Twitter for the first time hid one of Trump's tweets, saying it broke rules on "glorifying violence" when he tweeted about the protests, looting and arson rocking Minneapolis in the aftermath of an unarmed black man's death during his arrest by a police officer.

Sebastian Smith of Agence France Presse (AFP) wrote that Trump called the people rioting "THUGS" and said he'd told the state governor "the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control." He added: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!" Those last words, which echoed a refrain heard during the racially charged civil rights era in the US south, prompted a torrent of complaints, as well as Twitter's extraordinary decision to restrict public access to the tweet. "He is calling for violence against American citizens during a moment of pain for so many. I'm furious," Trump's Democratic rival in the November presidential election, Joe Biden, said.

Others homed in on what they saw as racism in an apparent threat to have black protesters shot. "After stoking the fires of white supremacy and racism your entire presidency, you have the nerve to feign moral superiority before threatening violence? 'When the looting starts the shooting starts'??? We will vote you out in November," tweeted pop superstar Taylor Swift.

Trump responded later Friday on Twitter with a convoluted statement suggesting that he'd been referring not to authorities shooting protesters, but to criminal shooting incidents that had already taken place on the sidelines of the unrest but no one is convinced about Trump’s irrational excuse and he is getting burned in cyberspace for another of his daily booboos.

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