Twitter calls Trump's threat to shoot protesters a 'glorification of violence'


Twitter put a 'public interest notice' on Trump's tweet that threatened, 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.'

Twitter on Friday took the extraordinary action of restricting access to one of Donald Trump's tweets, saying it violated their policy against glorifying violence.

Trump sent the tweet in the early hours of Friday morning, addressing the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis, Minnesota, after a white police officer kneeled on his neck even as Floyd kept saying he couldn't breathe.

"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 tweeted.

The quote "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" is the same phrase that was used by racist Miami police chief Walter Headley during riots in the 1960s.

In a statement on Friday morning, Twitter said it put a "public interest notice" on the tweet, as it violated Twitter's policy "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."

"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," Twitter's public relations account tweeted.

Twitter's decision to limit access to Trump's tweet came a day after Trump signed an executive order meant to punish Twitter for fact-checking his tweet about vote-by-mail.

Trump falsely claimed that the fact check was censorship, even though the tweet was not removed and users could still see the content. The fact check correctly pointed out that Trump was giving incorrect information about voting by mail.

Floyd's death has sparked an outcry across the country about police violence against black Americans.

Those protests have since turned violent, with protesters setting a police precinct in Minneapolis ablaze after prosecutors announced they have yet to decide whether to charge the officer who pressed his knee into Floyd's neck as he pleaded for air.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.