Friday, June 19, 2020

What did Donald Trump do today?

He threatened violence against protestors.

Tomorrow, Trump holds an in-person, indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Almost everything about the rally seems designed to provoke controversy. Trump threw gasoline on that fire today by threatening protestors with a violent police response.

It wasn't clear whether Trump actually thought police had responded gently to recent protests in those cities, or if he was trying to suggest that he could make Tulsa's police act even more aggressively.

Asked why Trump was targeting protestors—since protest against elected officials is a core Constitutional right—a Trump spokesperson insisted that he only meant violent protestors, like those in Washington D.C. before he "came in with the National Guard and calmed our streets with law and order."

The June 1 assault on a lawful, nonviolent protest that cleared the way for Trump's photo opportunity at a church across the street from the White House was the only "calming" of the streets he's been personally involved in. That "calming" took the form of assaults on journalists, tear gas and rubber bullets, and buzzing crowds with helicopters

Trump has no actual police authority in Oklahoma.

Why does this matter?

  • The whole point of freedom of speech is that you get to use it even if the government doesn't like what you're saying.
  • Deliberately trying to start fights between Americans is exactly what enemies of the United States would want the president to be doing.