WASHINGTON — President Trump on Monday morning retweeted a video of a white man and woman brandishing a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun at peaceful Black protesters in St. Louis over the weekend, amplifying a surreal scene that embodied the racial divisions roiling the country.
Trump’s promotion of the St. Louis confrontation was the second time in two days that the president used his social media platforms — which he often credits with allowing him to circumvent mainstream news outlets — to exacerbate racial divisions as Americans have been protesting police brutality and demanding social justice reforms following the killing of George Floyd.
On Sunday, Trump retweeted a video of one of his supporters at a retirement community in Florida yelling “White power!” during what appeared to be an angry clash over the president and race among white residents in the community. He deleted the tweet about three hours after posting it, and a White House spokesperson said Trump had not heard the man make the “white power” statement. Still, no one in the White House condemned the sentiment.
In the video from the protest on Sunday in St. Louis, a barefoot white man emerges from his marble mansion and appears to threaten protesters who are marching down a private residential street. A woman, also barefoot, stands next to him with her finger on the trigger of a silver handgun she points at the protesters.
The protesters were participating in a peaceful march to the home of Lyda Krewson, the Democratic mayor of St. Louis, in order to demand her resignation after she released the names and identifying details of individuals who supported defunding the police.
The group can be heard banging on drums and yelling to one another, “Keep moving!” as they walk past the couple threatening them with firearms. According to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the white couple in the video were identified as Mark T. McCloskey and Patricia N. McCloskey, both personal injury lawyers.
The confrontation video drew more than 10 million views online.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends” on Monday, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, defended Trump’s decision to retweet the video of his supporters in Florida, even though it was pulled down after criticism from Republican lawmakers of the racist phrase “white power.”
“His point in tweeting out that video was to stand with his supporters, who are oftentimes demonized,” McEnany said. “So he didn’t hear that portion. He took it down. But he does stand with the men and women of The Villages,” the Florida retirement community where the clash apparently took place.
Meanwhile, Trump on Monday criticized Princeton University for removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from its school of public and international affairs and called a push to remove John Wayne’s name from a California airport ‘‘incredible stupidity.’’
The president’s twin broadsides marked his latest objections to efforts to update names of facilities amid a tense national debate on race relations.
In recent weeks, Trump has also expressed objections to removing Confederate statues and to renaming military bases that commemorate Confederate generals.
Princeton’s board of trustees voted last week to remove Wilson’s name, saying the late president’s segregationist policies a century ago make him an ‘‘especially inappropriate namesake.’’
Orange County, Calif., Democrats passed a resolution last week condemning film legend John Wayne’s ‘‘racist and bigoted statements’’ made decades ago and called on the Orange County supervisors to remove his name and statue from the international airport.
New York Times
Detroit police SUV plows through group of protesters
A largely peaceful protest in Detroit against systemic racism and police brutality turned violent on Sunday night as a police SUV plowed through a group of protesters, striking multiple people and sending a couple demonstrators who had climbed on the hood flying from the vehicle.
Police accelerated the vehicle multiple times as dozens of protesters surrounded the SUV, according to videos posted to social media. After each acceleration, protesters could be heard shrieking in shock, pleading for the driver to stop putting their foot on the gas while people were in front of the vehicle and being thrown from the hood of the car.
A Detroit Police Department spokeswoman told the Detroit Free Press she was awaiting further details before giving an official statement. The driver has not been publicly identified.
In a statement to the Detroit News, the department said the driver was attempting to leave the scene after a rear back window had been ‘‘busted out.’’ The department told the News, ‘‘The officer tried to escape.”
One shot to death, one hurt in Seattle protest zone
SEATTLE — One man was killed and another wounded early Monday in Seattle’s “occupied” protest zone — the area’s second deadly shooting.
Police said the shooting happened before dawn in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Demonstrators have occupied several blocks around the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct and a park for about two weeks after police abandoned the precinct following standoffs and clashes with protesters calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said last week that the city would wind down the “Capitol Hill Organized Protest” area. Transportation crews tried to remove makeshift barriers on Friday but stopped after demonstrators objected. Nearby businesses and property owners filed a federal lawsuit against the city on Wednesday for its tolerance of the zone.