President Donald Trump said Saturday that supporters of his he’d essentially summoned to the White House Saturday night “love black people.”
In rambling remarks to press before taking off on a flight to Florida — in hopes of witnessing the Falcon 9 rocket launch — Trump was asked about his tweets that disparaged the protesters outside the White House Friday night.
The protesters, demonstrating against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, were ultimately forced away from the White House in the early morning hours after a series of scuffles with Secret Service personnel.
Trump subsequently tweeted Saturday morning, without proof, that the protesters had been “professionally organized,” and “professionally managed.” He added: “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???”
The professionally managed so-called “protesters” at the White House had little to do with the memory of George Floyd. They were just there to cause trouble. The @SecretService handled them easily. Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2020
A reporter Saturday afternoon asked Trump if the comment could “be stoking more racial violence or more racial discord.”
“No, not at all,” Trump responded. “MAGA says ‘Make America Great Again.’ These are people that love our country. I have no idea if they’re going to be here. I was just asking.”
“By the way,” he added, “they love African-American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people.”
Trump said he didn’t know if his supporters would be at the White House, but that “they love our country.”
Pressed by a reporter on whether he wasn’t “calling on them to hold a counter-protest,” Trump stopped himself mid-answer.
“No, I don’t– I don’t care, I mean, I don’t care,” he said.
Trump also urged authorities in Minnesota to “get tougher” on rioters there, before referring to Floyd, whose killing in police custody has set of a wave of protests nationwide.
“By being tougher, they will be honoring his memory,” Trump said.
Trump: "They love African-American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people." pic.twitter.com/XFqoF0EK3D
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) May 30, 2020