President Donald Trump reacted in remarkably different ways to protests at the start and end of May.
When predominantly white demonstrators carried military-style rifles to the Michigan Statehouse to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home orders, the president urged her to give in to their demands to reopen the state as the coronavirus pandemic raged.
"The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," Trump tweeted May 1. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."
The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire. These are very good people, but they are angry… https://t.co/N9En6o8DcP— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1588336943.0
Protests over the police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, were met by officers wearing riot gear and deploying tear gas, and some demonstrators set fires and vandalized stores -- which prompted a violent threat from the president.
"These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen," Trump tweeted May 29. "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!"
Twitter hid the tweet for violating site rules against glorifying violence, which prevented responses and retweets, and the official White House account tweeted the same message hours later.