President Donald Trump doubled down on his violent and divisive rhetoric against protesters across the country on Thursday night by calling them “terrorists” and threatening “retribution.”

Mass protests across the nation against racial injustice and police brutality have been ongoing since the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

In response, Trump has referred to the protesters as “thugs” and has threatened to use the military against American citizens as police use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse crowds regardless of whether they are peaceful or not. The most notable incident was when police teargassed peaceful protesters so that Trump could walk over to a church and use it as a prop for a photo-op.

Protesters have also torn down racist statues, particularly those dedicated to the Confederacy, which fought to preserve slavery during the Civil War in an act of treason against the United States.

During an interview with Sean Hannity, Trump appeared to threaten an escalation of violence against protesters, which he went on to refer to as “terrorists.”

“Every night we’re going to get tougher and tougher,” Trump said. “At some point, there is going to be retribution because there has to be. These people are vandals. But they’re agitators, but they’re really, they’re terrorists in a sense.”

No, they are not. They are simply performing a public service that should have done decades ago because these statues are not about remembering the Civil War. They are about glorifying racism and insurrection. They are monuments to white supremacy and should be torn down.

Trump’s new threat against American citizens is outrageous and should be roundly condemned. If even one American is harmed by Trump’s storm-troopers as a result of his rhetoric he should be held criminally liable and prosecuted.

This is not how Americans should be treated by any president. Conservatives carry guns during their protesters and storm state capitols to intimidate lawmakers but you don’t see violence perpetrated against them by police or the military. Of course, the military is never called in to put down these protests. There’s a clear double standard here and it’s about time that changed.

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