The United States is being hit by several crises. Deaths from the novel coronavirus have now surpassed 100,000, a landmark President Donald Trump long claimed we'd never reach. Meanwhile, the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis has led to widespread protests, riots, and looting. The nation is in need of a strong and reassuring leader, but, unfortunately, who we have is Donald Trump.
"The Lamestream Media is doing everything within their power to foment hatred and anarchy. As long as everybody understands what they are doing, that they are FAKE NEWS and truly bad people with a sick agenda, we can easily work through them to GREATNESS!" Trump said in a tweet.
So, what is the "FAKE NEWS" reporting on? The New York Times
Of course, this display of anger on the part of D.C. residents was not without cause. Since the wrongful death of George Floyd, many news outlets have acknowledged that Trump seems to be more interested in being combative than comforting to protestors.
Trump tweeted, "Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching... Is this what America wants? NO!!!"
When he emerged from the bunker, Trump reiterated his combative message saying he never felt unsafe and that he would use "vicious dogs" and "ominous weapons" on intruders.
Many of Trump's tweets regarding the unrest have further enraged protestors by using racially charged language and historically bigoted terms to refer to protestors.
"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.
"Thug" has become a familiar dog whistle and racist term in recent years specifically used to refer to black protestors and young black men. "When the looting starts, the shooting starts," was a phrase used by two historically controversial figures. First, in 1967, it was used by a Miami police chief who supported using deadly force against protestors and civil rights activists who he opposed. He added in the same speech, "we don't mind being accused of police brutality." The phrase was also used by segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace in a speech in 1968.
Trump has also said he "will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization". ANTIFA, also known as anti-fascists, however, is a widespread movement with no structure or clear leadership. According to the NYT, this movement can't legally be designated as a terrorist group. That doesn't mean that this announcement doesn't matter. This announcement implies that all of the protests are being carried out by violent radicals rather than acknowledging the systemic racism and police brutality and targeting of minorities which led to the protests and riots in the first place.
"We want peaceful protesters who have real concerns about brutality and racism... And they can't be hijacked by these left-wing antifa militants who are burning down... communities," Robert O'Brien, Trump's national security adviser said on CNN.
This, of course, is the whole point. The more Donald Trump can make the public think that these rioters are irrational radical liberals, the less he has to address their legitimate concerns, and the less he has to acknowledge the parts of his constituency which contribute to the problem and perpetuate racist ideas.
In the end, every decision the President makes seems to link back to the same thing: the election.
"I'm going to win the election easily," the president said on Sunday. "The economy is going to start to get good and then great, better than ever before. I'm getting more judges appointed by the week, including two Supreme Court justices, and I'll have close to 300 judges by the end of the year."
During the protests, the blocks surrounding the White House were left covered with graffiti after the protests. One meaningful phrase covering the underlying emotional cause of the riots was painted on the historic Decatur House a block from the capitol building, "Why do we have to keep telling you black lives matter?"