The day before his scheduled rally in Tulsa, Okla., President Trump warned “any protesters” that they can expect rough treatment at the hands of law enforcement, in a tweet that lumped demonstrators in with criminals.
“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” wrote Trump on Twitter Friday morning. “It will be a much different scene!”
Trump and his administration have attacked peaceful protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Earlier this month protesters outside the White House were forcefully dispersed and gassed by law enforcement officers so the president could take photos with a bible outside St. John’s Church. A tweet from Trump warning that when “the looting starts, the shooting starts” was flagged by Twitter for encouraging violence and condemned from across the political spectrum.
Just before the crowd outside the White House was broken up, Trump said he was supportive of peaceful demonstrations, stating, “I am your president of law and order, and an ally of all peaceful protesters.” Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during Friday’s briefing that the president’s tweet, which clearly specified “any protesters” was actually directed at violent protesters.
Police in New York, Seattle, Minneapolis and numerous other cities across the country have been caught on video treating peaceful protesters violently, with a number of them being suspended or fired over the last few weeks.
Although Tulsa police announced that Mayor G.T. Bynum had instituted a curfew through Sunday morning in an attempt to head off conflict connected to the president’s rally Saturday night, Trump tweeted Friday afternoon that Bynum had told him there would be no curfew in place. Shortly after Trump’s tweet, the New York Times reported that the mayor’s office said the curfew had been rescinded.