Conservative media outlets could hardly contain their joy on Tuesday after President Obama used the term “thugs,” which is often seen as racially loaded, to describe the recent violence that broke out during protests in Baltimore.
Obama’s comments, made during a news conference earlier in the day, addressed protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, who sustained fatal injuries while in police custody, as well as violence that followed.
“My understanding is you’ve got some of the same organizers now going back into these communities to try to clean up in the aftermath of a handful of protestors — a handful of criminals and thugs who tore up the place,” Obama said during the joint White House news conference with Japan’s prime minister.
The Fox News show “Fox & Friends” was one of the first to seize on the quote.
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) April 28, 2015
However, others were quick to follow suit. The conservative website Twitchy aggregated tweets about Obama’s use of the word in a post that was gleefully headlined: “‘DOG WHISTLE TOOT TOOT TOOT’! Obama calls #FreddieGray rioters ‘thugs.'”
David Burge of the Iowahawk blog used Obama’s comments in a tweet to “The Roots” frontman Questlove who had earlier posted that the word “thugs” was code for the N-word.
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) April 28, 2015
The Daily Caller also published an article about Obama’s word choice and Vince Coglianese, the executive editor of the Daily Caller, tweeted a screen shot of the article alongside an earlier tweet from activist and professor Marc Lamont Hill in which Hill denounced the use of the word.
— Vince Coglianese (@TheDCVince) April 28, 2015
Breitbart also couldn’t resist joining the fray with an article about Obama’s words that featured this headline: “PRESIDENT OBAMA: BALTIMORE ‘THUGS’ NEED TO BE ‘TREATED LIKE CRIMINALS.'”