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Trump Doubles Down On 'Looters' Quote Even After Black Fox News Journalist Explains The Racist Origin To Him

Fox News

Since the May 25 killing of George Floyd sparked nationwide anti-racism protests, which have roiled the U.S. since that time, Donald Trump hasn't been able to stay away from controversy.

And now he's igniting new controversy about the previous controversies.

Immediately following George Floyd's death, the city of Minneapolis saw large, angry demonstrations. They called for greater police accountability and an end to racialized police brutality.

Particularly, residents wanted criminal charges for each of the four police officers involved in Floyd's death.

Though largely nonviolent, some of those early demonstrations did end with burning buildings and looted businesses, a detail Trump was quick to jump on at the time.

Since Trump posted the tweet, that phrase—"when the looting starts, the shooting starts"—has been at the heart of countless criticisms thrown Trump's way.

Most recently, Fox News' Harris Faulkner, a Black woman, took the President to task on that comment during a Fox News interview.

Faulkner began by asking, plain and simple, why he said what he said.

"I'm a Black woman. I'm a mom. You've talked about it, but we haven't seen you come out and be that consoler in this instance. And the tweets, 'when the looting starts the shooting starts'. Why those words?"

After Trump explained it as an expression he's "heard over the years," Faulkner interrupted.

She asked if he knew its origin. He wrongly traced it back to Philadelphia.

Faulkner then took some time to school Trump on the real origins of the phrase.

"No. It comes from 1967. I was about 18 months old at the time. … But it was from the chief of police in Miami. He was cracking down, and he meant what he said."
"And he said, 'I don't even care if it makes it look like brutality I'm going to crack down, 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.' "
"That frightened a lot of people when you tweeted that."

Trump, of course, had a rebuttal for that.

In the face of Faulkner's fact-based explanation, he offered his own instead.

"Well, it also comes from a very tough mayor, who might have been police commissioner at the time, but I think mayor of Philadelphia named Frank Rizzo."
"And he had an expression like that, but I've heard it many times from – I think it's been used many times."

It's worth noting that the statue of Frank Rizzo, just outside Philadelphia's City Hall, was torn down because it "represented bigotry, hatred, and oppression for too many people, for too long," according to the city's Mayor.

But Trump had more to add.

He closed with a confusing explanation of the phrase's semantics.

"It means two things – very different things. One is, if there's looting, there's probably going to be shooting, and that's not as a threat, that's really just a fact, because that's what happens."
"And the other is, if there's looting, there's going to be shooting. They're very different meanings."

Needless to say, Twitter was not surprised, but infuriated all the same.



Others took some enjoyment in where the power seemed to lay in that interview.


With the protests around the country pressing on, even after some cities have undertaken new police reforms, we can expect Trump's approach to stay in line with this one—double down on whatever he said, no matter how hard that gets.