National Sec. Adviser Defends Trump’s Tweets: “He Wants To De-Escalate Violence"


O’Brien: “What he said about those tweets is he wants to de-escalate violence and he doesn’t want looting.”

The Hill reports that National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien defended President Donald J. Trump’s recent tweets, saying that Trump “wants to de-escalate violence.”

  • Following George Floyd’s death in police custody, large groups of individuals gathered to protest police violence and racism in Minneapolis and thereafter other large cities.
  • The situation in Minneapolis turned violent, as well as that of other cities, as people and police clashed. The Minneapolis Police Third Precinct was set on fire and burned down, and storefronts were looted.
  • Trump later tweeted sharp criticism of the unrest, writing “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” accusing “ANTIFA and the Radical Left” of inciting violence, and warning that anyone who crossed law enforcement barriers around the White House would be met with “the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons.”
  • Critics excoriated Trump for his statements. The phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” originated with Walter Headley, Miami Chief of Police in 1967, who said the phrase while announcing a new “get tough” strategy for policing black neighborhoods, including the use of dogs and shotguns. Twitter flagged this post as a violation of its policy against glorifying violence.

However, in an appearance on ABC’s This Week, National Security Adviser O’Brien defended Trump’s leadership in the midst of these events.

  • O’Brien said, “We’re with the family, and as the President said, we’re with the peaceful protestors who are out demanding answers and petitioning their government about what happened to Mr. Floyd.”
  • George Stephanopoulos pressed O’Brien about Trump’s tweets about “far left thugs” and his phrase, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” asking, “Should the President be taking responsibility for those tweets as well?
  • O’Brien answered, “I think what the President said… is that he wants to de-escalate violence and doesn’t want people looting.”

O’Brien continued,

I want to make a big distinction between peaceful protestors, these great Americans, and that’s the difference between our country and many of the authoritarian countries out there. When something like this happens, we investigate it, our people protest, they petition their government for redress, and we stand with the protest. It’s the violent ANTIFA radical militants that are coming out under cover of night, traveling across state lines, using military style tactics to burn down our cities. They’re especially targeting the most vulnerable parts of our cities… the minority sections… and burning down businesses of people that are trying to get a leg up. And the President’s outraged… we’re calling on the FBI to investigate ANTIFA and get at the bottom of these violent rioters, and I don’t want them confused with peaceful protestors who have every right to go out on the streets.

Some public figures claimed or speculated that many of the violent agitators were not local to the demonstrations and riots. However, KARE 11 discovered that this may not be true of at least one state. Hennepin County Jail records indicate that 56 of the 69 “received by jail” cases from Friday to Saturday were Minnesota residents.

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