President Donald Trump got no mercy from Illinois’ leading politicians Friday after he tweeted on Minneapolis protesters: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Trump tweeted this after protests broke out against Minneapolis police killing George Floyd earlier in the week. The line was originally attributed to Miami Police Chief Walter Headley in the ‘60s.
The line was also recited by segregationist Alabama Gov. George Wallace when he ran for president in 1968. However, National Public Radio reported that Twitter hid the tweet but Trump later repeated, “Looting leads to shooting.” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was asked about Trump’s comments at a coronavirus news conference Friday.
Lori said, “I feel angry, I feel sickened and a range of other emotions all at once.” She reminded that Floyd was an African American. She said, “Being black in America should not be a death sentence. We should not fear for the lives of our young ones, and mothers shouldn’t fear when their young men and women go out into the world that they’re going to get that fateful call.”
Lori called the tweet “profoundly dangerous” and accused Trump of throwing “red meat” to his political base. She said, “We see the game he’s playing because it’s so transparent and he’s not very good at it. He wants to show failures on the part of Democratic local leaders … his goal is to polarize, to destabilize local government, and to enflame racist urges. And we can absolutely not let him prevail. I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump. It’s two words. It begins with ‘F’ and it ends in ‘U.’”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker also discussed Floyd’s death at Wednesday’s coronavirus briefing, saying that “being black in America cannot be a death sentence.” He was asked about Trump’s ensuing tweet at Friday’s briefing in Chicago. He said, “From the very moment that I announced my decision to run for governor, three-plus years ago, I said that this president was a racist, a misogynist, a homophobe, a xenophobe, and I was right then and I’m right now. His tweets, his reaction, his failure to address the racism that exists in America is a stoking of the flames in sometimes subtle and sometimes not no subtle ways. It’s completely unacceptable. It’s reprehensible, in fact. And I’m outraged by what he does in response to these situations.”