As the nation reels from social, economic and health crises, President Donald Trump began his Wednesday with a Twitter spree defending himself, attacking his critics and suggesting he’s done more for black Americans than any president, with the “possible exception” of Abraham Lincoln.
This is his headspace as the nation grieves the horrific death of George Floyd at the hands of police and deals with the economic and health effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted America’s black community.
The tweets come as the White House is facing ongoing fallout from the President’s response to ongoing protests and the events of Monday evening, where peaceful protesters were forcefully dispersed before curfew so he could participate in a photo opportunity with a Bible outside St. John’s Episcopal Church, which suffered a fire during protests over the weekend. The move has been widely criticized by clergy.
After a night of largely peaceful protests around the country with some brief clashes near the White House, Trump has tweeted or retweeted 40 times since 5:52 a.m. He said he’s “done much more for our Black population” than 2020 rival Joe Biden or “any President in U.S. history, with the possible exception” of Abraham Lincoln, trained his ire at the media, promoted baseless conspiracy theories about his predecessor, called for “LAW AND ORDER!” and congratulated Randy Feenstra, who bested Iowa Rep. Steve King in Tuesday’s primary.
If you watch Fake News @CNN or MSDNC, you would think that the killers, terrorists, arsonists, anarchists, thugs, hoodlums, looters, ANTIFA & others, would be the nicest, kindest most wonderful people in the Whole Wide World. No, they are what they are – very bad for our Country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2020
Later Wednesday, Trump participated in interviews with friendly outlets. He called into Brian Kilmeade’s Fox News Radio program and is set to be interviewed by former White House press secretary Sean Spicer for Newsmax.
The President continued to ignore calls for him to calm racial tension and instead claimed the reason he was moved to a bunker on Friday night amid violent protests was for an “inspection” rather than safety concerns. He defended his baseless attacks accusing a former US congressman of murder of an aide, despite pleas from the aide’s widower for him to stop.
Trump did offer that law enforcement “have to get better than what they’ve been doing, I mean obviously it was a terrible thing,” when addressing Floyd’s killing in the Fox News Radio interview.
“We have to get the police departments, everybody has to do better,” Trump said, “This is a long term problem, this didn’t happen today.”
Trump’s base remains split on whether he’s been too tough or not tough enough on protests — with congressional Republicans defending him or just remaining silent.
Conservative televangelist Pat Robertson criticized his response Tuesday on “The 700 Club,” saying, “Matter of fact, he spoke of them (the nation’s governors) as ‘Being jerks.’ You just don’t do that, Mr. President. It isn’t cool!”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Biden drew stark contrasts in a speech Tuesday, criticizing Trump’s use of the Bible as a prop.
Trump’s predecessors, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have expressed support for peaceful protests and urged the nation to look in the mirror at institutionalized racism. Obama is set to appear in public at 5 p.m. ET Friday alongside his former attorney general, Eric Holder, in a town hall on police reform.