Wednesday on MSNBC, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser accused President Donald Trump of intentionally using the term “vicious dogs” to cause a “triggering moment” in black people.
According to Bowser, the term was directed at those who lived through the civil unrest of the segregated South in the 1960s, when Bull Connor used police attack dogs against civil rights activists.
Bowser said, “We saw with our own eyes peaceful protesters cleared from in front of the White House for what appeared to be only the president’s trip across the street. And what we also need to know and be very clear about is how and whose orders those federal police officers were following. And we need to know that so that it never happens again. Not in our city or not in a state or any city in the United States of America.”
Host Joy Reid asked, “And the troops have been removed from Washington, D.C. Do you think that, to be blunt, the president was shook by your demand that those troops be removed?”
Bowser said, “Well, I think that his stunt backfired. I think they made it very clear. I think you showed a tweet from him early on where he threatened to release vicious dogs on the people of the United States in Washington, D.C. I think they made up their mind then that they were going to use Washington, D.C. as a theater, to put on a show for the rest of the United States. So that other American mayors and governors would fall in line. And what happened instead is the American people said, no way, not today, not ever, and now we are going to join the protest to send a very clear message that in the United States of America, you have the right to peacefully protest.”
Reid said, “This is the walls that have been built in front of the White House. We know that Donald Trump utilized the bunker and that he was certainly afraid of the protesters and so had hid at one point. This is the fence at the White House. For you as a black woman, to hear the president of the United States threaten to sick vicious dogs on Americans, sort of Bull Connor, George Wallace style, to put up a fence in front of the people’s house, just viscerally for you, how does that read to you when you hear it?”
Bowser said, “Well, viscerally for me, the statement about the vicious dogs was intentional. I think that it was meant to send a message to many, many Americans. Many people that I represent, my family and friends, who lived through those days. And it was a triggering moment I think for them, and as for me, as a person who wasn’t even alive during those days, but I know my history. I recently did the pilgrimage with John Lewis, where I had to re-walk those steps that so many of our civil rights leaders walked. And to hear in 2020 the threat of vicious dogs being released on the people of Washington, D.C. shook me to my core. They claim they brought in the military because of unrest, but they decided that day they were going to bring in the military as a show of force, in my view, in my opinion.”
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