Twitter flags Trump, White House for 'glorifying violence' in tweets about George Floyd protests
"When the looting starts, the shooting starts," Trump tweeted.
Twitter has flagged a tweet from the official White House Twitter account which reposted the text of a tweet President Donald Trump sent early Friday morning, saying "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," claiming the tweets violated its rules about "glorifying violence."
The tweets were in reference to the ongoing unrest in Minneapolis following the death of George Floyd.
"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 shortly before 1 a.m. Friday.
The official White House account reposted the language of President Trump's tweet Friday morning after it had already been flagged by Twitter.
The tweets are now only visible if "view" is clicked.
"This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible," the social media company said.
Trump's use of the "looting" phrase evoked a dark page in American history as it was used by a Miami official in the 1960s.
The president doubled down on his statement Friday afternoon, tweeting "nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media."
Replying to its own flagged tweet which repeated the text of Trump's flagged message, the official White House Twitter account later argued that Trump was actually condemning violence.
Without addressing the Twitter guidelines that got his tweet flagged earlier Friday morning, Trump responded to Twitter saying the social media giant only targets Republicans.
"Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party," Trump tweeted. "They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated."
After protesters overtook the Minneapolis Police Department's Third Precinct and set it on fire, Trump lashed out at local officials and said the military could take over the response to the protests.
"I can't stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership," Trump tweeted. "Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right."
Frey responded to Trump at an early-morning press conference Friday, saying that type of finger point is weak.
"Weakness is refusing to take responsibility for your actions. Weakness is pointing your finger at somebody else during a time of crisis," Frey said. "Donald Trump knows nothing about the strength of Minneapolis. We are strong as hell. Is this a difficult time period? Yes. But you better be damn sure that we're gonna get through this."
First Lady Melania Trump also chimed in on the protests on Twitter, saying, "there is no reason for violence" and the country needs to focus on healing. She noted in the tweet how she's seen Americans come together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Floyd, who is black, was seen pinned down in a video by a white police officer and later died. He could be heard screaming, "I can't breathe," on the video of the incident.
The video of Floyd's death has now caused outrage in the city of Minneapolis and all over the country. Residents of the city have protested his death since Tuesday.
This is the second time this week Twitter has taken action against Trump's tweets.
It previously flagged two of Trump's tweets about mail-in voting in California, saying Trump's tweets were "potentially misleading" about elections.
Trump responded to the flags by issuing an executive order Thursday targeting social media companies.
He said the order allows for new regulations so that social media companies "that engage in censoring or any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield."
This report was featured in the Friday, May 29, 2020, episode of "Start Here," ABC News' daily news podcast.
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