President Donald Trump vowed his administration would end what he called “mob violence” in US cities following the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of Minnesota police, blaming leftist groups for clashes with police and property damage around the nation.
“The mobs are devastating the life’s work of good people and destroying their dreams,” Trump said at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in remarks following the first launch of US astronauts into orbit from US soil since 2011.
“There will be no anarchy,” Trump said. “Civilization must be cherished, defended and protected. The voices of law-abiding citizens must be heard, and heard very loudly.”
The successful rocket launch by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which will carry two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, had served as a chance for Trump to take a victory lap for an electoral promise to reestablish American dominance in space. It’s also a symbolic step; the US is resuming manned spaceflight just as most of the country begins to emerge from lockdowns from the coronavirus pandemic and is in a deep economic downturn.
Trump touted the launch as part of his “America First” agenda. Instead, the day was overshadowed by demonstrations in Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta, Washington and other cities, continuing the political strife and racial division that have accompanied Trump’s presidency.
Protesters demanded justice for George Floyd, who died this week after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest for an alleged counterfeit $20 bill.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with murder and manslaughter. He is white.
“Radical left criminals, thugs and others, all throughout our country and throughout the world, will not be allowed to set communities ablaze,” Trump said. “We won’t let it happen.”
Trump didn’t specify how his administration would act against violent protesters.
“The leadership of the National Guard and the Department of Justice are now in close communication with state
and city officials in Minnesota,” he said, “and we are coordinating our efforts with local law
enforcement all across the