Why Trump's Latest Comments About Protests May Be Terrifying For Black Americans

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement to the press in the Rose Garden about restoring "law and order" in the wake of protests at the White House June 01, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump encouraged U.S. governors to be more aggressive against violent protesters following several nights of nationwide violence in response to the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis police. â  You have to dominate or you'll look like a bunch of jerks, you have to arrest and try people," he was reported saying during a call from the basement White House Situation Room. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with the third-degree murder of George Floyd, a black man, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25th. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Why Trump's Latest Comments About Protests May Be Terrifying For Black Americans

In a news conference, the President threatened martial law on citizens.

Published June 1st

Written by BET Staff

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, escalated his attacks on protestors across the nation by threatening martial law against citizens in his first comments since massive demonstrations swept the country.

"I am mobilizing all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson. And to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights," Trump said during the press conference.

"If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them," Trump said, referring to himself as "your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters.”

He also said he planned for a police and law enforcement presence to “dominate the streets” and said he would respond with an “overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled.”

To activate the military to operate in the U.S., Trump would have to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act, which four people familiar with the decision had told NBC News he planned to do. The act was last invoked during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. George W. Bush attempted to invoke the act in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina, but then-governor Kathleen Blanco refused him.

Some believe that the delay in sending critical resources to Louisiana was in retribution to her refusal, and overwhelmingly affected Black residents who weren't able to evacuate on time. According to Workers.org, "And as the anger rose, it became the excuse for not providing relief. It was too 'dangerous' to go in. The area had to be 'secured' by troops first. The Black people of New Orleans—who made up the vast majority of those unable to evacuate—were being treated as 'the enemy,' not as desperate survivors."

The tension between Donald Trump and Black Americans that has been mounting since he first announced he would be running for president makes this move particularly worrisome. While the vast majority of the chaos and violence during the recent protests have been caused and escalated by police, white supremacist organizations and white instigators, the White House has perpetuated a narrative that puts the blame on protestors, and the anti-fascist movement called Antifa.

Police violence spread at protests across the country this past weekend, resulting in thousands of arrests and several deaths.

This story is developing...

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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