Donald Trump has doubled down on blaming the ‘radical left and ANTIFA’ for George Floyd protests across America and warned he will stop ‘mob violence cold’ as Secret Service agents in riot gear clash with demonstrators outside the White House for a second day.
Speaking at Cape Canaveral after the successful launch of Elon Musk’s Space X rocket, Trump blasted what he called the ‘rioters, looters and anarchists’ that have taken to the streets of at least 30 cities this week to demand justice over Floyd’s death and warned them that ‘there will be no anarchy’.
‘The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists,’ he told crowds.
‘The violence and vandalism is being led by ANTIFA and other radical left wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings.’
His comments come as tensions started building between protesters and law enforcement in Washington DC for a second day Saturday leading the District of Columbia to call in the National Guard.
This followed similar scenes Friday which forced the White House to go into an emergency lockdown when some demonstrators tried to scale the walls of the grounds.
Donald Trump has doubled down on blaming the ‘radical left and ANTIFA’ for George Floyd protests across America and warned he will stop ‘mob violence cold’ as Secret Service in riot gear clash with demonstrators outside the White House for a second day
Trump blasted the crowds of protesters as ‘mobs’ and ‘criminals’.
‘The mobs are devastating the life’s work of good people and destroying their dreams,’ he slammed.
He then gave a chilling threat to protesters that they will be stopped ‘cold’ by his administration – a day after he sparked outrage for making the inflammatory statement that ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts’ and the same day he tweeted that anyone scaling the White House grounds would be faced with ‘ominous weapons’.
‘My administration will stop mob violence and stop it cold,’ he said Saturday.
‘We must not allow a small group of criminals and vandals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities.’
The president made another thinly-veiled dig at Minneapolis officials over their response to the mounting tensions between law enforcement and demonstrators in the city where Floyd died, saying it ‘does not serve the interest of justice’ for officials to ‘give in’ to protesters.
‘It does not serve the interest of justice or any city of any race, color or creed for that government to give in to anarchy abandon police precincts or allow communities to be burned to the ground,’ he said. ‘It won’t happen.’
A second day of protests turned ugly at the White House Saturday
At least three Secret Service vehicles were seen with their windows smashed and with profanities scrawled on the side of them
Protesters chanted ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘I can’t breathe’ – some of the last words Floyd said before he died
The president had warned Thursday in a Twitter post that he would ‘assume control’ of the situation in the city and leveled blame at ‘weak’ Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey after protests descended into widespread carnage and left the city torched to the ground.
On Thursday night, Minneapolis police officers had been forced to flee the third precinct when it was stormed and set alight when peaceful protests turned violent.
The president went on to blast people taking part in violent protests as ‘dishonoring George Floyd’s memory’.
‘We support the right of peaceful protesters and we hear their pleas but what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with justice or peace,’ he said.
He continued: ‘We must not allow a small group of criminals and vandals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities.
‘We must defend the right of every citizen to live without violence, prejudice or fear.’
Speaking at Cape Canaveral after the successful launch of Elon Musk’s Space X rocket, Trump blasted what he called the ‘rioters, looters and anarchists’ that have taken to the streets of at least 30 cities this week to demand justice over Floyd’s death and warned that ‘there will be no anarchy’
Footage emerged Monday of white cop Derek Chauvin kneeling on the neck of black man Floyd for more than eight minutes until he passed out and later died, sparking outrage over police brutality and seeing protests escalate across the nation.
Trump described Floyd’s killing as a ‘grave tragedy’ at Cape Canaveral.
‘The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy.
‘It should never have happened it has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief,’ he said.
‘Yesterday I spoke to George’s family and expressed the sorrow of our entire nation for their loss.’
He added that the investigation into Floyd’s death is ongoing, hinting that charges could be leveled at the other three police officers involved.
Trump’s comments come as tensions started building between protesters and law enforcement in Washington DC for a second day Saturday
Things turned ugly again Saturday, following the events of Friday which forced the White House into a temporary lockdown when some demonstrators tried to scale the walls of the grounds
Chauvin was arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter Friday but the other three still walk free.
‘The police officers involved have been fired from their jobs, one of them has already been arrested and charged with murder,’ he said.
‘State and federal authorities are carrying out an investigation to see what further charges may be warranted including against sadly the other three.
‘In addition my administration has opened a civil rights investigation and I have asked the attorney general and the justice department to expedite it.’
Trump went on to point to the Space X launch as a sign of what America can achieve by coming ‘together’.
‘Moments ago we witnessed the launch of two great American astronauts into space. We were filled with the sense of pride and community in what brings us together as Americans,’ he said.
Trump’s comments came just hours after he first pointed the finger at the radical left for the protests turning violent this week.
‘It’s ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don’t lay the blame on others!’ Trump said in a tweet on Saturday, referring to the militant far-left movement, short for ‘anti-fascist’, that is known for violence.
His comments were echoed by Attorney General Bill Barr who also said ‘the voices of peaceful protest are being hijacked by radical elements.’
‘Groups of outside radicals and agitators are exploiting the situation to pursue their own separate and violent agenda,’ Barr said in an on-camera statement. ‘In many places it appears the violence is planned, organized and driven by anarchic and far-left extremist groups using antifa-like tactics.’
‘It is a federal crime to cross state lines or use interstate facilities to incite or participate in violent rioting and we will enforce those laws,’ he added, saying that the FBI, US Marshals, DEA, ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Offices would fully support local and state law enforcement in restoring order and cracking down on violence.
While the president celebrated the successful space flight, back at the White House, protesters surrounded the seat of the US government for a second day and clashes broke out between the crowds and Secret Service agents.
Several demonstrators were seen standing on top of Secret Service vehicles and a security booth near the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
At least three Secret Service vehicles were seen with their windows smashed and with profanities scrawled on the side of them.
Protesters stood on the hoods and roofs and chanted ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘I can’t breathe’ – some of the last words Floyd said before he died.
Back at the White House, protesters have surrounded the seat of the US government for a second day and clashes have started breaking out between the crowds and Secret Service agents
Several demonstrators were seen standing on top of Secret Service vehicles and a security booth near the Eisenhower Executive Office Building
The protests first reached the seat of the US government Friday night, with demonstrators marching to the White House, sending it into an emergency lockdown for a brief time.
Secret Service officers stopped anyone entering the White House grounds, where Trump was in residence, after a demonstrator tried to scale the fence in Lafayette Park to get inside.
The man was manhandled by Secret Service out of the park and taken into custody at the Treasury Annex.
Crowds followed law enforcement and the man to the jail and staged another protest outside – this one calling for a medic for the man after he was seen with blood pouring down his face, sparking renewed fears over police brutality and for the safety of a man held in police custody.
Secret Service agents were also seen physically pushing demonstrators back after some pushed down metal railings while a police cruiser was seen burning in the road after it was torched by rioters.
The lockdown was later lifted around 8:30p.m. and Trump broke his silence over the situation Saturday saying he ‘couldn’t have felt more safe’ and saying that any protesters who made it into the grounds would have been met with ‘the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons’.
‘Great job last night at the White House by the U.S. @SecretService. They were not only totally professional, but very cool. I was inside, watched every move, and couldn’t have felt more safe. They let the ‘protesters’ scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone got too frisky or out of line, they would quickly come down on them, hard – didn’t know what hit them,’ he tweeted.
‘The front line was replaced with fresh agents, like magic. Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence. If they had they would. have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.
‘That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action.’