Donald Trump appeared to threaten to order federal and local law enforcement officers rough up any protesters who might show up to object to his planned campaign rally Saturday night in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!" the president tweeted.
Mr Trump, who calls himself "your law-and-order president," doubled down with the tweet on his get-tough approach to protesters and what he and law enforcement officials say are agitators from the political left and right joining the crowds to damage businesses.
Polls indicate Mr Trump was politically damaged after his administration, led by Attorney General William Barr, ordered federal police and DC National Guard troops to clear Lafayette Square and a nearby street just a half hour before his walk to St John's Church across from the White House for a Bible-hoisting photo op.
One survey showed 64 per cent of Americans disapprove of his handling of the crisis that began with the killing of George Floyd, a black man, while in the custody of white police officers in Minneapolis. Even slight majorities of GOP voters have objected to his response.
A new Fox poll showed just over 60 per cent of those surveyed disapprove of the president's handling of race relations.
Mr Trump's threatening tweet came less than 24 hours after Oklahoma's governor sat near the president at the White House and declared the Tulsa event will be "safe."
"it's just going to be amazing, okay?" said Kevin Stitt, a Republican. "Oklahoma is ready for your visit. It's going to be safe. And we're really, really excited."
The president, a TV reality show host prior to joining the 2016 presidential race who still talks about ratings, might have been bluffing. The tweet might have been intended to gin up interest in the evening rally.
He and his campaign team have spent much of the week boasting that the event has spawned 800,000 to 1m ticket requests. It will mark the president's return to the campaign trail, his first rally since March.
“It's going to be a hell of a night," Mr Trump promised earlier this week in a Wall Street Journal interview.
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