Eric Trump is coming under fire after appearing to refer to Black Lives Matter protesters as “animals” while introducing his father at a campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday.
The president’s son was among those who spoke to the thousands in attendance at Saturday’s event, the first in-person rally for Trump’s campaign since the national lockdown measures went in place in March in a move to contain the spread of coronavirus. While speaking to the crowd, Eric Trump made reference to the growing protests that have taken place in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, part of the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality and systemic racism.
“We’re going to keep the moral fabric of this country,” Eric Trump said, via The Daily Beast. “Because when you watch the nonsense on TV, when you see these animals literally taking over our cities, burning down churches, this isn’t America. That’s not what Americans do.”
As the report noted, it was not entirely clear what Eric Trump was referring to when he mentioned burning down churches. There was a small fire in the basement of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., near the White House, during a protest that turned violent, but it was extinguished without creating any significant damage. No other churches have been burned down, the report noted.
The remarks drew immediate backlash online, with many criticizing what they saw as inappropriate language. Donald Trump had also come under fire for some of his rhetoric when referencing protests, including what appeared to be a threat to authorize the U.S. military to open fire on looters.
This is not the first time that Eric Trump has come under fire for his language when referring to those perceived as enemies of his father. Back in 2017, he faced intense criticism for saying that Democrats are “not even people” and suggesting that Democrats have no morals.
“I’ve never seen hatred like this, and to me they’re not even people,” he said in an interview with Sean Hannity, via CNN. “It’s so, so sad, I mean morality is just gone, morals have flown out the window we deserve so much better than this as a country.”
He has come under fire for other controversial remarks, including a suggestion that the panic over the coronavirus is a hoax being perpetrated by Democrats, and that it will “magically disappear” after the election in November.