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The president angrily reacted to New York City’s decision to paint the slogan in front of Trump Tower.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday called New York City’s decision to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Fifth Avenue a “symbol of hate,” rebuking his home town’s embrace of a rallying cry that has stirred nationwide protests against racism.
The president’s latest comments attacking the Black Lives Matter movement drew swift condemnation from New York City police reform groups.
Trump also criticized cuts to the city’s police department and wrote on Twitter that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to paint Black Lives Matter on the street outside Trump Tower is “denigrating this luxury Avenue”.
“This will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York & vividly remember the horrible BLM chant, ‘Pigs In A Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon,’” Trump wrote. “Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!”
De Blasio told MSNBC earlier Wednesday morning that the street painting would be completed outside Trump Tower in a matter of days. The mayor’s office ordered the letters painted on Fifth Avenue last week.
“Obviously we want the president to hear it because he’s never shown respect for those three words,” de Blasio said. “When he hears Black Lives Matter, he presents a horrible negative reality of something that doesn’t exist, and he misses the underlying meaning that we’re saying we have to honor the role of African Americans in our history and our society.”
Activists said Trump’s tweet distracted from efforts to combat police brutality.
“The only symbol of hate is President Trump. This is just his latest attempt to brazenly push hate and try to divert our attention from the urgent civil rights issues facing our communities, from violent policing to the pandemic,” Carolyn Martinez-Class, a spokesperson for the New York City organization Communities United for Police Reform, said in a statement to POLITICO.
The painting of Black Lives Matter on Fifth Avenue follows the passing of the city’s budget in the early hours of Wednesday morning. While the $88.19 billion budget cuts funding to the police department, reform activists were unhappy and said the reductions did not go far enough in reducing the NYPD’s role in the city.