Trump Appears to Threaten Would-Be Protesters Ahead of Tulsa Rally

Donald Trump listens during a press briefing - April 18, 2020 -Getty - H 2020
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Lumping peaceful demonstrators in with "anarchists, agitators, looters and lowlifes," the president said they will not be "treated" like others in states he deemed too soft.

Donald Trump on Friday morning sent an ominous message to would-be demonstrators who plan to protest his upcoming Tulsa rally.

His first event in months after the gatherings were halted because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the president initially planned to hold the event Friday, on Juneteenth. That, however, was met with massive backlash amid the worldwide anti-racism movement, so he rescheduled to Saturday.

On Friday, he appeared to threaten anyone planning to protest at the event, saying "Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!" 

Trump has repeatedly called for violence to be used against demonstrators after protests broke out around the country — some turning into looting and destruction — following the May 25 killing of George Floyd. The president threatened to send the military into states he deemed too soft in their response. What's more, he was skewered in the media after peaceful protesters in D.C. were tear-gassed and violently removed so he could have a photo-op, holding a Bible, outside an area church. 

The president's Friday tweet with met with disgust and horror ("Threatening police violence on Juneteenth. This is who he is," said House of Cards creator Beau Willimon); other users noted it was reported for encouraging violence. If the platform were to tag the post, it would be the second time one of Trump's tweets was censored due to the threat of violence and the second day in a row one of his posts was flagged for a violation of rules. 

Twitter labeled a selectively edited video tweeted by Trump as "manipulated media" on Thursday night as the tech giant continued to crack down on misinformation posted by the president, who has more than 82 million followers. Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted a video from Twitter user and self-described "memesmith" Carpe Donktum that edited a viral video of two toddlers, one Black and one white, running toward each other and hugging, before running away together. The edited video played elements of the video out of sequence, added ominous music and a fake CNN chyron suggesting that the "racist" white child was chasing the Black child in an attempt to suggest news organizations were distorting reality and that "America is not the problem" when it came to racism.

Actress Regina King previously said she was disgusted Trump chose to hold the Tulsa rally on Juneteenth, which she considered a calculated move. "I have chills because it is in a lot of ways — and he does it all the time — he is really throwing the finger up," King told Seth Meyers while a guest on Late Night

King recently starred in HBO miniseries Watchmen, which opened with the Tulsa race massacre. The Tulsa race massacre took place May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked African American residents and businesses in the area known as Black Wall Street.

Trump this week told The Wall Street Journal that "nobody had ever heard of" the Juneteenth holiday before he brought it up in response to the outcry over his rally date.