President Donald Trump on Wednesday said painting “Black Lives Matter” on New York’s Fifth Avenue would be “a symbol of hate” and wind up “denigrating” the street outside of Trump Tower, as he ratcheted up objections to a plan that he suggested the city’s police could stop.
Trump’s comments, in morning tweets, were his latest volley directed at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who last week ordered that the tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement be painted in large yellow letters in a move designed in part to antagonize the president.
It was also the second time in as many weeks that Trump has lashed out at the Black Lives Matter movement as polls show a majority of Americans disapproving of his response to the nationwide protests that emerged following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The movement rose up in recent years against racial profiling and police violence and it has played a prominent role in demonstrations for which Trump has expressed disdain despite claims that he supports peaceful protests.
In his tweets, Trump decried a move by New York officials to shift about $1 billion from the city’s police budget in a bid to respond to calls to “defund the police” that resonated following the recent deaths of Floyd and other African Americans in police custody.
“NYC is cutting Police $’s by ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and yet the @NYCMayor is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue,” Trump tweeted. “This will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York. . . . Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!”
(c) 2020, The Washington Post · John Wagner