Trump calls the Black Lives Matter mural to be painted outside Trump Tower a 'symbol of hate'
President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement on Wednesday, calling the national movement for racial justice "a symbol of hate" in a series of tweets.
The president slammed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio following the city's decision to move $1 billion of the police department's $6 billion annual operating budget to the Department of Education and other social service agencies.
And Trump condemned plans to paint "Black Lives Matter" on the street outside Trump Tower, which sits on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. He called the ritzy avenue, which is lined with designer stores and luxury hotels, "New York's greatest street" and argued that the move "will further antagonize" law enforcement, "who LOVE New York."
New York City is facing a $9 billion budget deficit, a result of the economy's near-halt during the pandemic.
This comes after Washington, DC Mayor Mueriel Bowser had "Black Lives Matter" painted in yellow block letters large enough to fill 16th street, which leads to the White House, and renamed the portion of the road "Black Lives Matter Plaza."
Trump has taken an aggressive posture towards the anti-racism movement and nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis police. Last week, he accused Hawk Newsome, president of the Greater New York Black Lives Matter, of committing treason by threatening to "burn down this system and replace it" to achieve the group's goals.
"Black Lives Matter leader states, 'If U.S. doesn't give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.' This is Treason, Sedition, Insurrection!" Trump tweeted.
Vice President Mike Pence recently said he doesn't support the Black Lives Matter movement because its leaders are pushing a "radical left agenda, including calling to defund police departments and reallocate taxpayer money to social services.
"What I see in the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement is a political agenda of the radical left that would defund the police, that would tear down monuments, that would press a radical left agenda, and support calls for the kind of violence that has beset the very communities that they say they're advocating for," Pence said in a Sunday interview with CBS News' "Face the Nation."
A large majority of Americans support the Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and racism, according to recent polls. And a January poll found more than 80% of Black Americans believe Trump is a racist.