Did Trump just say drugs are a “very, very big factor” in the protests in Charlotte? pic.twitter.com/spqbgAHCOL
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) September 22, 2016
On Thursday, Donald Trump used part of his Pittsburgh energy speech to suggest that drugs are to blame for unrest in Charlotte following the fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. “If you’re not aware, drugs are a very, very, big factor in what you’re watching on television at night,” the Republican candidate for president told the audience. Trump’s remark was reportedly an off-the-cuff addition to his prepared address, which was written by campaign staff.
“Many Americans are watching the unrest in Charlotte unfolding right before their eyes on the TV screens,” Trump said. “Others are witnessing the chaos and the violence firsthand.” He added that “our country looks bad to the world” and asked how the U.S. could be expected to lead on the global stage “when we can’t even control our own cities?” He went on to admonish Black Lives Matter protesters in Charlotte for, in his opinion, bringing suffering to their own communities by speaking out against injustice.
“We honor and recognize the right of all Americans to peacefully assemble, protest, and demonstrate. But there is no right to engage in violent disruptions or to threaten the public safety and peace of others … The people who will suffer the most as a result of these riots are law-abiding African-American residents who live in these communities where the crime is so rampant. It’s their jobs, housing markets, schools, economic conditions that will suffer. And the first duty of government is to protect their well-being and safety. We have to do that. There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct.”
Protests erupted in Charlotte this week after police shot and killed Scott on Tuesday while executing a warrant for a nearby apartment. Police reported that Scott was armed during the incident, but his daughter claims that he was unarmed and reading a book in his car when he was tasered and shot at least four times. Since Scott’s death, protests have been gathering in Charlotte, and police in riot gear have been retaliating against them with rubber bullets and tear gas. On Wednesday night, Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in North Carolina.
You can watch Trump’s full speech at the Shale Insight Conference below. His comments about Charlotte begin around the 10-minute mark.
(Via The Hill)