Longtime conservative commentator and Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham weighed in on the Minneapolis riots on Thursday night, arguing to her African-American viewers that Donald Trump can identify with them thanks to his troubles with an “out-of-control” criminal justice system.
Her defence of the president comes as one of Mr Trump’s tweets about the riots was flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence”.
Speaking during a segment entitled “Minneapolis Burning”, Ms Ingraham praised Mr Trump for jumping on the situation “almost immediately” by calling for an FBI investigation into the killing of Minneapolis’s George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.
“To our African-American fellow citizens I say this: given his own experience with an out-of-control FBI and unfair investigations, given all his work now on criminal justice reform, President Trump knows how poisonous an out-of-control law enforcement process can be.”
Ms Ingraham, who spent the bulk of her segment arguing that the violence and rioting on display in Minneapolis had only robbed the protesters of the moral high ground, struck a very different tone than the president chose for the message that Twitter chose to flag.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” he wrote on Thursday, “and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
For her part, Ms Ingraham did not mention the possibility that the authorities might need to issue violent reprisal. However, she is not alone among her Fox News colleagues in castigating the Minneapolis protesters for the demonstrations’ descent into violence.
Ms Ingraham, whose show lost multiple sponsors after she taunted a teenage school shooting survivor on Twitter in 2018, did acknowledge that the footage of Mr Floyd struggling to breathe under a police officer’s knee shows what may well amount to murder.
“We should spend more time trying to work together to ensure that we have a fair and just society. All human beings have inherent worth. All of them are endowed by God with certain inalienable rights. From the evidence available thus far, it looks like George Floyd was denied his.”
Citing Rosa Parks as an exemplar of the power of nonviolent protest, she stated plainly that all Americans must take responsibility for ensuring racial equality.
“I’m not going to pretend for a millisecond to know what it’s like to be a black person in America. I don’t. But the only thing I do know is that we all need to do better. We need to love more, we need to respect more — do better.”