Donald Trump used Twitter on Thursday night to promote an interview in which he explained how “tough” his supporters could get – and deleted the tweet Friday morning after the New Zealand mosque shootings.
In his chat with the Breitbart News Network, Trump said: “I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”
Breitbart said Trump was talking about the “vicious” tactics of “the left.”
“So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening,” Trump said before discussing his supporters. “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay?”
Trump’s critics accused him of fomenting violence by his backers.
“I think it sounds very much to me like he’s encouraging them to engage in something that’s probably illegal such as assaulting people, you know behave in a dangerous way,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, speaking on MSNBC. “That sounds like a threat to me. I think it’s appalling.”
Social media users criticized Trump for posting the article as news was breaking about the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, that left 49 people dead.
And Trump deleted it. Critics questioned why Trump chose to link to the site, posting screenshots of anti-Islam comments underneath a Breitbart report on the attacks.
Wow. Trump has deleted his Breitbart tweet after the New Zealand massacre. But screenshots are forever. https://t.co/WG7GUALlnn
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) March 15, 2019
On Friday morning, Trump tweeted a condemnation of the the attacks.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured,” Trump said. “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019