Donald Trump announced on Twitter this morning that the National Guard is standing by in Minneapolis. The Guard is ready to be deployed to quell the riots stemming from righteous anger over the death of George Floyd. The only sensible question is: why has it taken so long?
President Trump ought to be the tough but moral leader the city needs right now, but his initial response was just as spineless as the rest. When the protests first started, Trump was busy tweeting about Joe Scarborough’s dead intern. As the city burned, he whined about Twitter fact-checking him on voter fraud and had his administration quickly draft an executive order on social media. It wasn’t until after two full days of ‘fire and fury’ that the President addressed the situation, again doing so by tweet in which he divisively promised that ‘when the looting starts the shooting starts.’ Is this the best we can expect from the man who promised to police the border, shut down sanctuary cities, and blamed Obama’s weak leadership for the unrest in Ferguson?
His decision to send in the National Guard was correct but should have been done sooner, and was likely only agreed upon after hemming and hawing among certain members of the White House who are concerned the move could hurt Trump’s support among black voters. This is a cop out. Trump already has negligible support among black voters. Despite Jared and Ivanka’s wishful thinking, the First Step Act and low black unemployment aren’t the policy bangers that are going to win over lifelong Democrats. The administration’s overall posture toward black Americans has been to implement programs that marginally help those communities but hardly address the bigger, structural issues facing them.
One of Trump’s most salient acknowledgments of the concerns of black people and their role in American society was during a Turning Point USA event at the White House when he said black Americans have built more of the country than they are given credit for. Yet he seemed content to allow people to burn down buildings for two days, terrorizing other people of color who wish to live in their neighborhoods in peace. The idea that black Americans would be angry with Trump for stopping the violence is absurd, and doesn’t comport with the videos of young black men arming themselves to protect locally-owned small businesses from looters. Bringing opportunity zones to Minneapolis after the city has been destroyed won’t win Trump any favors. He’d garner much more respect if he quashed the riots to save the city and its citizens, and then addressed the righteous anger people feel about police brutality and what his administration intends to do to combat it.
It’s devastating that things have turned out this way. The video of a police officer putting a knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes as bystanders begged for him to stop was horrifying. Americans have every right to be livid and to protest police brutality. But as often happens in the aftermath of these events, a few individuals more intent on carnage than justice hijack peaceful protests. This is further aggravated by progressive groups like antifa who incite violence at protests in offer to further class warfare and implementing Marxism.
Certainly there will be arguments as to whether the riots are justified: are black Americans so desperate for justice against police brutality that this is the only way they can respond?
Violence cannot be allowed to rage on in an orderly society. Burning down a city is obviously not advantageous to its citizens.
The riots have gotten to this point not because life is unfair but because the authorities have been wrong. The seemingly murderous actions of the police officer who suffocated Floyd were wrong. The DA who refused to arrest him for several days and the other officers who stood by were wrong. The woke platitudes from the young Minneapolis mayor were wrong. And the state patrol who turned their attentions to arresting CNN reporters instead of the individuals throwing Molotovs were wrong.
Gov. Tim Walz deployed Minnesota’s national guard on Thursday to assist firefighting efforts, but they were apparently unable to stop local police precincts from being overrun by rioters. Trump’s help is desperately needed.
Being a law and order president means having the fortitude to exercise a show of force when needed. It also means ensuring the justice system applies equally to all Americans. Trump ought to consider both principles as he moves forward in Minneapolis.
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