As protesters took to the streets of Washington D.C. on Sunday night to demonstrate against the recent deaths of unarmed Black men and women, the exterior lights of the White House suddenly went out. The famous monument going dark was a notable sight while other parts of the city went up in flames as a result of widespread protests sparked by the death of George Floyd last Monday. And it seemed that when the American people needed leadership the most, the Executive house shut, err, bunkered, down.
The White House's sudden blackout also came two days after President Donald Trump was ushered into the House’s underground bunker for an hour on Friday night. The move was a safety precaution usually taken by the Secret Service when they feel the president is in danger. At the time, protesters were demonstrating outside of the White House.
Shutting off the White House lights and being huddled in its underground bunker, however, didn’t stop Trump from jumping on Twitter after the fact to express his feelings about the nationwide protests: he’s not afraid to go to war with protesters, no matter what happened and how.
“Big crowd, professionally organized, but nobody came close to breaching the fence,” he Tweeted on Saturday after his time in the bunker. The president later wrote that if protestors had breached the fence, they would have been “greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen. That’s when people would have been really badly hurt, at least. Many Secret Service agents just waiting for action.”
Trump continued his rhetoric of attacking protestors on Sunday, when his mid-blackout tweet was about “fake news” and refered to protesters as “anarchists,” further fueling confusion and hatred toward the people mourning the lives lost and the promoting the Black Lives Matter movement.
But Sunday’s tweets are just the latest in a long stream of recent declarations from Trump that clearly spelling out his disdain for BLM protesters. Twitter, in a move some might call surprising given their history with free speech, hid the president’s May 29 tweet calling protesters “thugs” and using the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” — a phrase once used by a Miami police chief in 1967 who saw police brutality as a means to uphold community "safety." The social media platform noted that it was “glorifying violence,” which the White House later refuted.
Trump didn’t stop there, also tweeting his plans to declare anti-facist movement ANTIFA a terror organization on Sunday, once again focusing less on the mission of those fighting issues like systemic racism and facism.
Now is a time when the United States needs its Commander-in-Chief to speak out against the injustice done in the deaths of unarmed Black men and women, and not insinuate violence against protesters aiming to get a larger message across to society.