President Donald Trump, using an acronym for his campaign slogan to refer to his supporters, told reporters Saturday morning that "MAGA loves the black people" after he was asked about his latest round of tweets on protests of police brutality after the death of George Floyd. In a series of tweets Saturday morning, Trump praised the Secret Service for locking down the White House during protests in Washington, D.C. while incorrectly claiming Mayor Muriel Bowser would not let the city's police department work with the Secret Service. In another tweet, Trump said Saturday night will be "MAGA night at the White House."
Trump was asked about the tweet in which he seemed to invite his supporters to rally outside the White House, and if the message might stroke racial tensions. The president dismissed the idea, insisting his supporters "love African-American people, they love black people." He later added, "MAGA loves the black people" and attempted to pressure Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, both Democrats, to "get tougher."
Question: With your tweet today, are you concerned that you may be stoking more racial violence?— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) May 30, 2020
Trump: No not at all... I have no idea if they’re going to be here. By the way, they love African Americans, they love black people. MAGA loves the black people. pic.twitter.com/SCnTY3ZRhX
"They’ve got to get tougher. They’ve got to get tougher," Trump said, reports the New York Times. "They’ve got to be strong. Honor the memory of George Floyd, honor his memory. They have to get tougher, and by being tougher they will be honoring his memory, but they cannot let that happen." Trump later criticized Frey on Twitter, claiming the mayor could "never be mistaken for the late, great General Douglas McArthur (sic) or great fighter General George Patton."
Early Saturday, Trump tweeted praise for the Secret Service after protesters showed up outside the White House Friday evening. Trump claimed if the protesters "got too frisky or out of line," the Secret Service agent would "quickly come down on them, hard." He suggested that it would include "the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons." Then, he proceeded to criticize Bowser "who is always looking for money & help, wouldn't let the D.C. Police get involved," Trump wrote.
During a press conference, Bowser called Trump's tweets "gross," as Washington, D.C. police were outside the White House with the Secret Service and U.S. Parks police. "There is no police department in the nation better prepared to safely support Americans exercising their First Amendment rights than the Metropolitan Police Department, and this is well known," Bowser said, reports NBC Washington. No arrests were made and there were no reported uses of force, D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said.