President Donald Trump on Saturday called for the arrest of protesters allegedly involved in an attempt to tear down a statue of Andrew Jackson by tweeting images of his wanted posters.
Trump posted photos of 15 people the US Park Police said he is trying to identify “who is responsible for destroying property” in a park outside the White House. A black man in one of the photos is wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt, and a white man in another is wearing a shirt with the slogan “I can’t breathe.”
The president circulated an FBI search poster Friday with the images of the 15 people among his 82.5 million Twitter followers. On Saturday, individual tweets were sent for each person, primarily in a three-minute burst shortly after 6 p.m.
The surprising social media posts come as Trump stepped up his verbal attacks on protesters protesting against police brutality that erupted after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota in May.
The president in public statements has increasingly emphasized his “law and order” message, rather than focusing on disclosure or police reform, as he seeks to energize his conservative supporters at a time when he follows Democratic challenger Joe Biden in surveys.
Trump also lashed out at the Black Lives Matter movement in an interview published Saturday, saying his agenda was “extremist” and criticizing New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio for raising the idea of painting the slogan in the Fifth Manhattan Avenue near the Trump Tower. .
“You see their leaders on television saying, ‘Give us what we want, or we will burn this system down and replace it.'” That’s almost terrorism, “Trump he told The Federalist, a conservative online publication.
The comments were an apparent reference to a Fox News interview with Hawk Newsome that first aired on Wednesday, and has been replayed many times since. The network identified Newsome, which had 1,996 Twitter followers as of Saturday night, as the Black Lives Matter “president” for Greater New York. The movement is known to lack a formal leadership structure.
Attempts by some protesters to tear down statues, mostly of Confederate generals and leaders, have also angered Trump.
Trump announced on Twitter on Friday that he ruled out a planned weekend trip to his private golf club in New Jersey to stay in Washington “to ensure that THE LAW AND ORDER are followed.”
On Saturday morning, the President played a round of golf at his club in nearby northern Virginia.
The president signed on Friday a executive order calling people who destroy or vandalize monuments to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The order says it is intended to protect the statues of “left anarchists and extremists.”
Trump also mocked the protesters in a Fox News interview on Thursday night, promising retaliation: “These people are vandals, but they are agitators. But in reality they are … they are terrorists in a certain sense. “
Protesters on Monday night tried It knocks down the statue of Jackson, the seventh President of the United States, with ropes and chains, according to photos and videos of the scene. Jackson had become a target due to his brutal treatment of Native Americans during the 19th century. Police thwarted the attempt and blocked Lafayette Square, which had recently been reopened after mass protests against Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.