May 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

D.C. mayor: Trump's tweets "hearken to the segregationist past of our country"

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser said on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that President Trump's tweets about protests over the death of George Floyd are "divisive" and draw from the "segregationist past of our country."

Driving the news: A Friday tweet by Trump, which was later flagged by Twitter for violating its rules about "glorifying violence," called protestors "THUGS" and used the phrase, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

  • The phrase was coined in 1967 by Miami police chief Walter Headley, who was criticized by civil rights leaders who argued the Miami police force unfairly discriminated against black residents. Headley once said his officers "don't mind being accused of police brutality."
  • The phrase was later used by segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace. Trump claimed on Friday that he didn't know the history behind the phrase.

What she's saying: Bowser told "Meet the Press" that Trump "has a responsibility to help calm the nation, and he can start by not sending divisive tweets. ... We certainly urge him to do that."

  • "We have systematic issues in our country to address, and it's going to take us at every level — federal and local — it's going to take community and government to heal the hurt that people are feeling," Bowser added.
  • "So what you see in cities across our nation, what we saw last night, are people who are angry and people who are hurting, and some not doing it in ways that are helpful to our cause. But we still have to acknowledge that hurt and that anger."

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