After days of silence, President Donald Trump addressed a nation ravished by racial justice protests-turned-riots that have left cities in ruins with shattered glass, graffiti and torched buildings Monday night.

“My fellow Americans, my first and highest duty as President is to defend the great country and the American people,” Trump said. “I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation, and that is exactly what I will do. All Americans are rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd. My administration is fully committed that for George and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain.”

Floyd, a black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, largely sparked the protests as tensions between police and the black community boiled over. The officer directly responsible for Floyd’s death has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, but many protestors are arguing that two other officers who witnessed the incident but failed to intervene should be charged as well.

Trump then called himself “ally of all peaceful protesters” but went on to call the demonstrations “acts of domestic terror.”

“A number of state and local governors have failed to take necessary action to safeguard their residence,” he said. “Innocent people have been savagely beaten like the young man in Dallas, Texas, who was left dying on the street. Where the woman in upstate New York, viciously attacked by dangerous thugs. Small business owners have seen their dreams utterly destroyed. New York’s finest have been hit in the face with bricks. Brave nurses who have battled the virus are afraid to leave their homes. A police precinct has been overrun here in the nation’s capital, the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II memorial have been vandalized. One of our most historic churches was set ablaze. A federal officer in California, an African American enforcement hero was shot and killed.”

Trump continued: “The destruction of innocent life and the spilling of innocent blood is offense to humanity and a crime against god. America needs creation, not destruction. Cooperation, not contempt, security, not anarchy. Healing the hatred, justice, not chaos. This is our mission, and we will succeed 100%. We will succeed. Our country always wins.”

He then went on to reaffirm his ability to deploy the National Guard and threatened rioters with lengthy prison sentences.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) called the speech “fascist” and verging on the “declaration of war against American citizens.”

“I fear for our country tonight and will not stop defending America against Trump’s assault,” Wyden wrote.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California) wrote: “These are not the words of a president. They are the words of a dictator.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) issued a joint statement on Monday

“We call upon the President, law enforcement and all entrusted with responsibility to respect the dignity and rights of all Americans,” the statement reads. “Together, we must insist on the truth that America must do much more to live up to its promise: the promise of liberty and justice for all, which so many have sacrificed for – from Dr. King to John Lewis to peaceful protestors on the streets today.”

It continues: “At this challenging time, our nation needs real leadership. The President’s continued fanning of the flames of discord, bigotry and violence is cowardly, weak and dangerous.”

Trump’s speech threatening protestors, coupled with several incendiary tweets he penned, have thus far failed to bring the country together.

“He should just stop talking. This is like Charlottesville all over again,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) said told CNN on Sunday. “He speaks, and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet.”


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