Trump describes Boston protesters as “anti-police agitators,” misspells “heal” four times.

Trump Describes Boston Protesters as “Anti-Police Agitators,” Misspells Heal Four Times

Trump Describes Boston Protesters as “Anti-Police Agitators,” Misspells Heal Four Times

The Slatest
Your News Companion
Aug. 19 2017 5:58 PM

Trump Describes Boston Protesters as “Anti-Police Agitators,” Misspells Heal Four Times

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Counterprotesters hold signs while marching to a planned "Free Speech Rally" on Boston Common on August 19, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.

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President Trump weighed in on the massive anti-white nationalist protest that took place in Boston on Saturday but it seems he had a bit of trouble getting his thoughts in order. His first instinct? Describe the anti-fascist, anti-racist, largely peaceful demonstrators that descended on Boston by the tens of thousands on Saturday as “anti-police agitators” while law enforcement officers were “looking tough and smart!” Shortly thereafter he sent another tweet in support of the police and even the city’s mayor.

It seems someone may have whispered in the president’s ear that maybe characterizing all the protesters (including many with great sign game) as nothing more than anti-police agitators was not the greatest idea so he tried to send out a tweet that noted sometimes protests are necessary “to heal, & we will heal.” Except it took him three tries to get it right. The commander in chief wrote “heel” in two separate tweets first, which he quickly deleted.

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The president then seemed to do a complete shift from his initial tweets, writing to “applaud the many protestors in Boston who are speaking out against bigotry and hate.”

The time span between the first “anti-police agitators” tweet and the applause for the anti-hate protesters? One hour and 19 minutes.

Boston police did confirm that protesters did throw rocks, “urine” and “bottles” at officers but Police Commissioner William Evans said those who caused trouble were decidedly in the minority. A total of 27 people were arrested, mostly from disorderly conduct and a few assaults on police officers. “99.9 percent of the people were here for the right reason and that’s to fight hate and bigotry,” he said.

Evans increased the estimates of protesters who descended on Boston to 40,000, saying it was a “very successful day” for the city and police officers alike. “Overall I thought we got the First Amendment people in, we got them out, no one got hurt, no one got killed,” he said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.