Donald Trump Defends Flagged-As-Violent Tweets: ‘It Was Spoken As A Fact, Not As A Statement’

President-elect Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the DeltaPlex Arena, December 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Donald Trump followed up on Twitter’s decision to flag a tweet about George Floyd’s death and the subsequent violence in Minnesota with a series of new messages meant to clarify his intent. Rather than offering political commentary, he explained, he was stating a fact.

Late Thursday night, Trump tweeted a message calling protestors in Minneapolis “thugs” and promised to supply military troops to the city’s mayor if needed. He concluded the tweet by saying “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The tweet was flagged by Twitter as violating its policy against glorifying violence. A warning was placed over the post, requiring users to click on it to view it. It was also limited from being commented on or retweeted.

Shortly after, Trump called for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to be revoked, continuing his battle against the social media platform, which he has long argued censors conservative voices.

On Friday, he sought to clarify his original message in the wake of the flagging and blamed “the haters” for taking issue with his comments.

“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means,” he tweeted. “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!”

Immediately prior to his most recent tweets on the matter, Trump held a press conference in the White House Rose Garden. He opted not to address the ongoing violence in Minneapolis, nor did he discuss his opinions on the matter with Twitter.

Earlier this week, Trump issued an executive order aimed at strengthening the government’s ability to go after social media platforms. Currently, sites like Facebook and Twitter are protected by the Communications Decency Act from being held responsible for the things posted by users on their platforms. But some, including Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, argue that these sites should be held to the same standards as news organizations when it comes to policing the things posted on their websites.

Conservatives argue that the platforms use the act to censor right-leaning voices, while progressives often say that they don’t do enough to limit hateful or dangerous speech.