‘There’s no reason for violence’: Melania Trump tweets about protests after president threatened to shoot looters

Danielle Zoellner

First Lady Melania Trump has tweeted her own thoughts about the protests taking place in Minneapolis and across the country following the death of George Floyd.

In a tweet, she wrote: "Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence. I've seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can't stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let's focus on peace, prayers & healing."

This was the first time the first lady spoke out about Mr Floyd's death.

Her statement comes after protests heightened in Minneapolis on Thursday evening, with protesters setting fire to the Minneapolis Police Department's third precinct among other buildings.

Tensions escalated in Minnesota following a news conference on Thursday with state and federal law enforcement. People thought the press conference would involve the announcement of charges potentially against the four former police officers involved in Mr Floyd's arrest and ultimate death. But instead, the officials said they had no new developments.

"We thought we would have another development I could tell you about, unfortunately, we don't at this point," US Attorney Erica MacDonald said at the opening of the press briefing.

Ms MacDonald went on to say the US Attorney's Office and the FBI were conducting a "robust and meticulous investigation".

Mrs Trump's statement about the protesters comes after the president released two tweets late Thursday night that alluded to violence against the protesters.

The president called the people involved in the riots "thugs" before quoting a former Miami police chief.

"When the looting starts, the shooting starts," Mr Trump wrote at the end of his tweet. This was later flagged by Twitter for violating the social media site's rules for "glorifying violence".

The quote comes from when a Miami police chief in 1967 when he said his department "didn't mind being accused of police brutality". The officer went on to state looting was not happening in his city because residents knew "when the looting starts, the shooting starts".

After facing backlash for the tweet, the White House later claimed the president's tweet intended to halt violence not glorify it.

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