Trump praises 'S.S.' for 'very easily' dealing with protesters in DC

President Donald Trump.Associated Press
  • President Donald Trump on Thursday praised the National Guard, the US Park Police, and what he described as the "S.S." for "easily" handling protests last week in Washington, DC, against police brutality.
  • "Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House could hardly believe how easy it was," the president tweeted.
  • "'A walk in the park', one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB!"
  • Trump was presumably referring to the US Secret Service, but his tweet quickly drew attention because the abbreviation is most commonly used to describe the Schutzstaffel, Adolf Hitler's notorious paramilitary force.
  • The president's tweet came on the heels of a New York Times story that described the aggressive tactics the District of Columbia National Guard and others used against peaceful protesters in the nation's capital last week.
  • Among other things, they used tear gas against protesters, deployed helicopters to dispel the demonstrations, and fired rubber bullets and pepper balls to break up a crowd of peaceful protesters so Trump could stage a photo op.

President Donald Trump on Thursday praised the National Guard, the US Park Police, and what he described as the "S.S." for the way they handled protests in Washington, DC, last week against police brutality following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd.

Floyd's fatal May 25 arrest, in which a white Minneapolis police officer was recorded kneeling on his neck for several minutes while Floyd said he couldn't breathe, prompted protests around the world.

"Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House could hardly believe how easy it was," the president tweeted. "'A walk in the park', one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB!"Advertisement

Trump was presumably referring to the US Secret Service (typically referred to as the USSS) when he mentioned "S.S." in his tweet. But the post quickly drew attention because the abbreviation is most commonly used to describe the Schutzstaffel, the notorious paramilitary group of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party during World War II.

The SS was originally created as Hitler's personal bodyguard unit, but it adopted a combat role during World War II and was specifically charged with carrying out what the Nazis called the "Final Solution" — the murder of more than 6 million Jews across Europe.

The SS, according to the US Holocaust Museum, also "assumed leading responsibility for security, identification of ethnicity, settlement and population policy, and intelligence collection and analysis." The security force "controlled the German police forces and the concentration camp system" and "conceived and implemented plans designed to restructure the ethnic composition of eastern Europe and the occupied Soviet Union."
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Trump's tweet on Thursday came on the heels of a New York Times report that described the aggressive tactics used by the National Guard against mostly peaceful protesters in the US capital last week and how the Guard's response to the civil unrest surrounding Floyd's death had cratered morale among the troops, particularly men and women of color.

"Typically, as the DC National Guard, we are viewed as the heroes," First Lt. Malik Jenkins-Bey, 42, who was the acting commander of the 273rd Military Police Company during the first days of the protests, told The Times. But last week was different, he said.Advertisement

"It's a very tough conversation to have when a soldier turns to me and they're saying, 'Hey sir, you know my cousin was up there yelling at me, that was my neighbor, my best friend from high school,'" Jenkins-Bey, who is African American, said.

The District of Columbia National Guard has faced sharp criticism for its tactics in quelling the protests, which included using pepper spray and rubber bullets to dispel peaceful demonstrations and deploying helicopters to fly low over protesters, sending them running for cover as the blast from rotor blades skimmed buildings.

Trump and his Republican allies, meanwhile, have painted the protests as being part of a widespread and coordinated effort by the far-left group antifa to sow discord and stoke violence related to the demonstrations.Advertisement

While there have been instances of rioting and looting during the protests, a closer examination of court records, media reports, and social-media activity shows little evidence of an organized effort by antifa to infiltrate the demonstrations.

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