US President Donald Trump's comments on protesters and threat of using martial law and military power to subdue the demonstrations over George Floyd's death have clearly seem to have boomeranged. His earlier tweets and interviews are being used to explain what Trump means by using force.
Trump's interview with Playboy magazine 30 years ago has come back to haunt him. In the interview, he had praised China for handling the Tiananmen Square crisis. Thousands of pro-students protesting at the Tiananmen Square were shot dead by Chinese forces on June 4, 1989 under martial law.
In the 1990 interview, Trump said China had shown its strength at Tiananmen Square. "When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength," Trump said.
"That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak...as being spit on by the rest of the world."
Stress on The Need to Dominate Protesters
Analysts say that it looks like he still holds the same opinion in dealing with the violent protests in the US. When he was taken to a bunker recently as thousands of protesters gathered at the White House, he told the governors that they were being too weak on the protesters and needed to dominate them. Later, he even threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act 1807 to contain the violent protests.
Looting vs Shooting
In one of his tweets he said when the "looting starts, the shooting starts". "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," Trump tweeted.
Following backlash to the tweet, he backtracked and tried to justify his views with another tweet: "Looting leads to shooting....It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It's very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd."
Trump is being criticized not only by his opponents as even former defense secretary James Mattis has slammed him. "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American peopleâdoes not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us," said Mattis in a statement, reported CNN.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut had recently said that the Republican party was pushing for an American Tiananmen Square.
Tiananmen Square Massacre
Pro-democracy students staged a massive protest at Tiananmen Square in Beijing from April 15, 1989. On June 4, the Chinese government sent the military to occupy the square. When students refused to move, they were massacred as troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators trying to block the military's advance into the square.