Trump criticizes Black Lives Matter leader, blasts de Blasio over mural plans

President Trump on Thursday accused a Black Lives Matter leader of promoting treasonous activity and objected to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s (D) plans to install a street mural in support of the movement outside Trump Tower.

“Black Lives Matter leader states, ‘If U.S. doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it,’” Trump tweeted Thursday. “This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!”

The president’s comments appeared to be in response to remarks made by Hawk Newsome, leader of Black Lives Matter Greater New York, in an interview Wednesday on Fox News about the movement’s objectives after the killing of George Floyd in police custody.

“If this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it. I can be speaking figuratively, I can be speaking literally, it’s a matter of interpretation,” Newsome said during the interview with Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum.

“Let’s be very real,” Newsome continued. “Let’s observe the history of the 1960s, when Black people were rioting. We had the highest growth in wealth, in property ownership. Think about the last few weeks since we started protesting. There have been eight cops fired across the country.”

The Black Lives Matter leader went on to say he doesn’t condone or condemn rioting, but argued that the protests have led to change.

Trump, who was aboard Air Force One while tweeting, also lashed out at de Blasio’s plan to install a Black Lives Matter mural outside Trump Tower, a move that’s been viewed negatively by police.

Similar murals have been installed in other cities, including Washington, D.C., near the White House.

“Told that @NYCMayor Bill de Blasio wants to paint the fabled & beautiful Fifth Avenue, right in front of Trump Tower/Tiffany, with a big yellow Black Lives Matter sign. ‘Pigs in a Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon’, referring to killing Police, is their chant. NYC Police are furious!” Trump tweeted.

The president was referring to a chant used by protesters at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Minnesota five years ago that at the time sparked backlash from police.

Trump has been criticized for his response to the nationwide protests after Floyd’s death on May 25, particularly for his rhetoric encouraging an aggressive crackdown on demonstrations, some of which have turned violent.

Trump rolled out what was described as a modest executive order on reforming police training last week and has emphasized his support for law enforcement. The president has also criticized demands from activists including the Black Lives Matter movement that police departments see their funding reduced and reallocated to social programs, commonly known as the “defund the police.”

Trump has not commented extensively on Black Lives Matter but said in an interview with Spectrum News this week that the movement “means a lot to me.”

“Nobody has done more for African Americans than I have,” Trump said, noting his work on criminal justice reform, opportunity zones, and funding for historically Black colleges and universities.

Tags Bill de Blasio Black Lives Matter demonstrations Donald Trump George Floyd Mural New York City New Yorkl Protests
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