“Can’t you just shoot them? Just shoot them in the legs or something?” Esper quotes Trump saying. The then-president allegedly made the remark as protesters descended on Washington, D.C., following the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by a Minneapolis police officer. The quote was first reported by Axios.
Days after Floyd was killed, Trump tweeted, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to [Minnesota] Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
The message was later flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence.”
In his book “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost,” released last year, reporter Michael Bender relayed similar stories from the White House.
“That’s how you’re supposed to handle these people,” Trump told military and law enforcement officials while showing them videos of police violence toward protesters, according to Bender. “Crack their skulls!”
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