White House stands by Obama's use of term 'thugs'
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The White House is standing by President Obama’s use of the word “thugs” to describe people rioting in Baltimore. 

“I don’t think the president would in any way revise the remarks he shared with you,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Wednesday.  

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“Whether it was arson or the looting of a liquor store — those were thuggish acts.”

The president on Tuesday denounced the actions of “criminals and thugs” who he said were exploiting the death of Freddie Gray. During a radio interview Wednesday morning, the president refrained from using the term.

Critics say the term is racially charged. Baltimore City Council member Carl Stokes said Tuesday that those who describe the young rioters as “thugs” should just call them the n-word. 

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake (D) on Wednesday took back her use of “thug” to describe demonstrators in her city. 

“When you speak out of frustration and anger, one can say things in a way that you don’t mean,” she wrote in a new message on Twitter.

Earnest would not weigh in on whether the term has racial overtones.  

“I’ll let you guys decide how those words get interpreted,” he said.