Double Standard: Trump Excoriates Black Lives Matter But Defends Kenosha Killer

Donald Trump, Laura Ingraham

Donald Trump and Laura Ingraham in the White House

Screenshot from Fox News/ American Independent Foundation

Donald Trump attacked the Black Lives Matter movement as "discriminatory" but defended the man accused of murdering two anti-racism protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week.

In an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham, Trump said the anti-racism movement is Marxist and racist.

"The first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, I said, 'That's a terrible name. It's so discriminatory. It's bad for Black people, it's bad for everybody,'" Trump said. He called the group "a lot of thugs."

Earlier on Monday, Trump was asked at a press conference if he would condemn his own supporter, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who was arrested last week and charged with multiple homicides after traveling from Illinois to Kenosha with an AR-15-style assault weapon.

"That was an interesting situation. You saw the same tape as I saw, and he was trying to get away from them, I guess, it looks like. And he fell. And then they very violently attacked him," Trump claimed. "And it was something that we're looking at right now, and it's under investigation. But I guess he was in very big trouble. He probably would've been killed. But it's under investigation."

Police have charged Rittenhouse with multiple felonies, including two counts of first-degree homicide, one count of attempted first-degree homicide, and one count of endangering safety with a deadly weapon.

The two people killed in the shootings were protesters demonstrating against police violence after a Kenosha police officer repeatedly shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in the back and seriously wounded him.

This is not the first time Trump has tailored his demands for "law & order" to exclude his own supporters and far-right extremists.

In 2017, Trump defended white nationalists after they carried out deadly attacks during a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, suggesting there were "some very fine people on both sides."

This April, after right-wing protesters ignored social distancing and safety guidelines to protest stay-at-home orders, Trump praised them as his loyal supporters. "I think they're listening. I think they listen to me," he said. "They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion, and my opinion is the same as just about all of the governors."

In May, Trump demanded that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer give in to the demands of an armed mob of protesters who stormed the state's Capitol. "The Governor of Michigan should give a little, and put out the fire," he tweeted. "These are very good people, but they are angry. They want their lives back again, safely! See them, talk to them, make a deal."

Over the weekend, a group of Trump supporters drove into Portland, Oregon, to counter anti-racism protesters. The caravan further inflamed tensions by firing paint balls and pepper spray at civil rights activists as it drove around the city; Trump tweeted that they were "GREAT PATRIOTS!"

He has also repeatedly pardoned his own political allies who have been convicted of crimes and commuted the sentences of his friends and supporters.

But Trump has regularly attacked even the most peaceful of protesters as they demand an end to systemic racism. He called for censorship of professional athletes for expressing their views and smeared anti-racism protesters as "violent anarchists and agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens" and "rioters and criminals spreading mayhem in Democrat-run cities."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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