Today is the anniversary of the forcible suppression of a 1989 protest in China’s Tiananmen Square, a massacre that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Chinese students and the wounding of thousands more, and social media has been hyper-aware of the similarities between the tactics of China’s leadership three decades ago and the rhetoric coming out of the Trump administration.
As it turns out, however, you don’t have to wonder too long at the reason things look so similar to the crushing of those demonstrators so long ago: Trump thought it was absolutely the right thing to do.
In a Playboy interview from 1990, the year after that protest, Trump was quoted as praising the Chinese government’s response to the demonstrations:
When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it, they were vicious, they were brutal, and then they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”
— Michiko Kakutani (@michikokakutani) March 15, 2016
It cannot be understated that this is the exact portrait of himself that Trump has been trying to paint since the protests over police brutality that have swept America were sparked by the murder of Minneapolis man George Floyd.
In city after city, the police and National Guard displays of might that have rounded up the most protesters and resulted in the most injuries and arrests are the ones that Trump praises, and anywhere that authorities have shown any kind of solidarity with protesters, Trump has roundly condemned them and called them weak.
Trump has unequivocally called the actual protesters themselves “Lowlifes and Losers” and dedicated at least some time in every public appearance he’s done since the beginning of the demonstrations to specifically call out protesters and mischaracterize them as being shills or led by anarchists or Antifa, despite zero evidence of anything like that.
The president has essentially zero chance at reelection unless and until he can crush this popular uprising like the dictator he increasingly sees himself being. But will he push until the tanks start running people over in the town squares?
Featured image via screen capture
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