• Editor’s note. Hello. This is an unfortunate but necessary abridged weekend edition of WTF Just Happened Today?

1/ Police nationwide responded to protests against police violence by deliberately targeting demonstrators, journalists, and bystanders with pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, and excessive use of force. The ongoing protests following the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer – who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes – have taken place in at least 75 cities, including at the gates of the White House, in the days since Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has since been fired, arrested, and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Since then, police have tear-gassed protesters, drove vehicles through crowds, opened fire with rounds of rubber bullets and pepper balls on journalists and bystanders, pushed over an elderly man with a cane who was walking away, shot a woman in the face with a rubber bullet as she left a grocery store, and shot a photojournalist in the eye with a rubber bullet, who is now permanently blind. Curfews have been enacted in more than two dozen cities, and about 5,000 National Guard troops have been activated in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Organizers have tried to keep the protests focused on police accountability and social justice through chanting and marching, but agitators, posing as peaceful protesters, have exploited the situation by looting stores, setting fire to buildings and police cars, and throwing firecrackers, bottles, bleach, and, reportedly, a molotov cocktail at police. Some advisers, meanwhile, have urged Trump to formally address the nation and call for calm, while others have said he should condemn only the looting or risk losing middle-of-the-road voters in November. The White House, however, declared a lid, which means no one should expect to see or hear from Trump for the rest of the day. (Slate / Nick Waters / Vox / Washington Post / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / The Week)

2/ Trump reacted to the protests and incidents of vandalism by threatening demonstrators with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons.” He previously suggested that looters in Minneapolis would be shot, referred to protesters as “thugs,” and prepared the Pentagon to use military force against American citizens. In a series of Saturday tweets, Trump accused demonstrators who gathered at the White House of being “professionally managed so-called ‘protesters’” and suggested that his supporters should confront them, saying: “Tonight, I understand, is MAGA NIGHT AT THE WHITE HOUSE???” When asked if he was stoking racial divisions by calling for a counter-protest, Trump replied: “No, not at all. MAGA is make America great again. These are people that love our country. I have no idea if they’re going to be here. I was just asking. … By the way, they love African-American people. They love black people. MAGA loves the black people.” (NBC News / Politico / Bloomberg / New York Times / ABC News / CBS News / Washington Post)

3/ Meanwhile, more than 100,000 Americans have lost their lives, and another 40 million their livelihoods, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

👑 Portrait of a President.

  1. Trump confronts a culture war of his own making as election looms. The president and his top allies are trying to fit his election-year interests in black voters into a political career filled with encouragements of police power. (Politico)

  2. Trump Is Terrified of Protest. Violent demonstrations across the United States bring out a particular weakness in the 45th president. (The Atlantic)

  3. In Days of Discord, a President Fans the Flames. Trump has presented himself as someone who seeks conflict, not conciliation, a fighter, not a peacemaker. And he has lived up to his self-image at a perilous time. (New York Times)

  4. America is at low ebb, shaken by multiple blows, and Trump adds to the distress. Trump has spewed division with ill-chosen tweets about looting and “shooting” or “vicious dogs” and overpowering weapons. He has attacked Democratic leaders as their communities burn. He flails rather than leads, his instincts all wrong for what confronts the country. (Washington Post)

  5. Trump has sown hatred of the press for years. Now journalists are under assault from police and protesters alike. But the seeds of that long day were planted years ago: The press has been attacked and disparaged by politicians for decades, whenever they found it served their purposes to slap around the “nattering nabobs of negativism” as Richard Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, once put it. (Washington Post)

  6. Twitter Had Been Drawing a Line for Months When Trump Crossed It. Inside the company, one faction wanted Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief, to take a hard line against the president’s tweets while another urged him to remain hands-off. (New York Times)

  7. Inside Twitter’s Decision to Take Action on Trump’s Tweets. A weeks-old policy about virus misinformation laid the groundwork for the social platform’s steps this past week to push back on the president’s posts. (Wall Street Journal)

  • 👋 If you have a few bucks to spare, join me in supporting the following organizations.

  • Black Visions Collective — “A political home for black people across Minnesota.” This Minnesota nonprofit is dedicated to creating safe, autonomous black communities. Donate here.

  • Reclaim the Block — A coalition that demands that Minneapolis divest from policing and invest in long-term alternatives that promote healthier, safer, and more diverse communities. Donate Here

  • Minnesota Freedom Fund — This nonprofit “pays criminal bail and immigration bond for those who cannot afford to” as they “seek to end discriminatory, coercive, and oppressive jailing.” Donate here.