President Obama strongly condemned the riots in Baltimore, describing the looters that struck Baltimore last night as “thugs” who needed to be “treated as criminals.”
He responded to questions about the recent violence in Baltimore during a press conference this afternoon with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Obama praised community organizers in Baltimore who were protesting peacefully and working to clean up the mess made by “a handful of criminals and thugs who tore up the place.”
Obama’s answer to a question from the press on the Baltimore riots was 14 minutes long and included 6 major talking points. Obama apologized to Prime Minister Abe during his response, admitting that he was going long, but that he felt the need to address the issue because it was important.
“When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing,” he said. “When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson.”
“That is not a protest. That is not a statement,” he said referring to the violence in Baltimore last night. “It’s a handful of people taking advantage of the situation for their own purposes and they need to be treated as criminals.”
Pointing to police unfairness, Obama reminded Americans that the problem was not new, but part of an ongoing problem in the United States.
“This is not new,” he stated shortly. “And we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new.”