Cities all around the nation took to the streets over the weekend to protest the murder of an unarmed African American man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody last week. A number of artists lashed out at President Donald Trump’s reaction to the marches during a time of national pain, and crisis. His tweets were irrefutably tone deaf to the underlying problems that sparked the public actions in dozens of cities.
P!nk, who has been known for her outspoken criticism of Trump in the past, called him out as a “coward and a racist.” The “Beautiful Trauma” singer demonstrated her unwavering support for the Black Lives Matter movement on Instagram and continued on Twitter saying, “…and just like everything else you’ve ever attempted in your life, A COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE. I can’t wait to vote you out in November. Maybe you’ll see the results from your baby bunker,” she wrote in response to a Sunday (May 31) tweet from Trump that read “LAW & ORDER!”; reports emerged over the weekend that Trump had been temporarily taken to a secure bunker underneath the White House on Friday night as protesters shouted and threw bricks and bottles outside.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted a warning that if protesters outside the White House breached the building’s fence, they would “have been greeted with the most vicious dog, and the most ominous weapons, I have ever seen,” an incendiary statement that some likened to the indelible images of police dogs sicced on civil rights protesters in the 1960s. Trump also specifically targeted states with Democratic leadership, saying that they have to “get MUCH tougher” on the protests or else the federal government will “step in and do what has to be done, and that includes using the unlimited power of our Military and many arrests.
Yet, this isn’t the worst thing the POTUS has said this week. The Tweet that truly set the nation off was when he wrote, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Whether he knew it or not, the slogan came out of the very same social ill that sparked the protests — police violence aimed at Black men. In 1967, as civil rights protests swept the country, Miami police chief Walter Headley vowed to crack down on young African American men who he said “have taken advantage of the civil rights campaign.” Headley continued to say, “Felons will learn that they can’t be bonded out from the morgue,” while attending a December 1967 press conference. “We don’t mind being accused of police brutality. They haven’t seen anything yet…when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Today, in what is perceived by the majority to be a civilized, equal and socially just America, this Tweet alone is a reflection of the real sentiments fostered in our country as it simply serves to glorify the violence being enforced by those sworn to protect and serve the community, and is an impossible ultimatum for protesters across the nation. Rather than reassure American citizens that justice will be served, or that they will be respected and protected as they exercise their freedom of speech and protest, Mr.Trump threatened them with two options, stand against racism, injustice, and murder and be attacked by American law enforcement, or stay home and be a bystander for your own personal safety. It is unfortunate, and disheartening to know that the head of a nation evidently lacks the compassion, rhetoric, and basic leadership needed to fulfill such an important job.
“Our nation is both crying and burning. And our President is tweeting from a f–king bunker not used since 9/11,” wrote Josh Gad. “I’m done this with s–t. Absolutely done. Would a grownup please escort this man out of office and show some f–king leadership?”
See the tweets from these outraged artists below.