President Donald Trump made an ambiguous but direct threat to anyone planning to protest his first campaign event in months, set to take place this Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” Trump wrote in a tweet on Friday. “It will be a much different scene!”
Trump wasn’t explicit in what would happen to protesters or how they might be treated if they did happen to show up during his visit to Tulsa. But he has made similar threats, some of them violent, toward demonstrators in the past few weeks, as uprisings demanding racial justice and an end to police violence have become commonplace across the country following the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks, among others.
Trump has made specific threats to protesters outside of the White House, for example, promising them that the Secret Service was ready to release “the most vicious dogs” and use the “most ominous weapons” against demonstrators on May 30.
On that same evening, Trump and his family members were reportedly escorted to the White House bunker for about an hour. The president later tried to claim he wasn’t doing so in response to protesters, but senior White House officials, including Attorney General William Barr, contradicted that assertion.
The following day, Trump appeared to follow through on his promise to attack protesters, unleashing tear gas and flash-bang grenades on peaceful demonstrators in front of the White House in order to ensure he could walk undisturbed to a photo-op at a nearby church.
A number of protests, demonstrations and other events across the country, coinciding with Juneteenth celebrations, are scheduled to take place on Friday and Saturday.
One event, organized by Unify Tulsa and taking place mere blocks from where Trump is scheduled to speak this weekend, is set for Friday and will last through Saturday in anticipation for the president’s arrival.
“Join us any time through the day on 6/20 as we continue to hold space and celebrate till the afternoon where we will march to remind President Trump, Governor [Kevin] Stitt, and Mayor [G.T.] Bynum that Black lives matter,” according to the event’s description.
Trump has expressed outrage toward protesters who express dissent with his administration, while giving little mind to those backing his own views, even when they brandish weapons and threaten lawmakers’ lives.
In April, for instance, after calling on citizens in a number of states to “liberate” themselves, many protesters stormed their states’ capitol buildings to demonstrate against state-at-home orders while wielding assault rifles. The president referred to them as “very responsible people.”