On Monday, President Donald Trump tweeted a video showing alleged Antifa anarchists paying people at a Columbus, Ohio demonstration in which crowds were protesting against the in-custody death of George Floyd.
The video depicts a white man dressed in black giving orders to two young black men: “These are your boys right here. This is the team. There’s more stuff that we can put out here. Hey, there’s three picnic tables up here,” the man says. The video appears to have been shot in Columbus, Ohio. The president did not provide a videographer credit or give a location description, but The Guild House restaurant, a Columbus establishment, is visible in the background. President Trump prefaced the video post with the words, “Anarchists, we see you!”
Anarchists, we see you! pic.twitter.com/ov1dMLu4Eg
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 1, 2020
Antifa, short for “anti-fascist,” is a political movement of leftists —including anarchists— and has been a notable proponent of violence. Activists clad in black clothing, suspected to be Antifa members, were significant and early initiators of arson and violence outside of the White House last weekend. Anarchist A’s and anti-capitalism messages were spray-painted in various areas of DC, including on the legendary Hay-Adams hotel. Arson also struck the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, often referred to as the “church of the presidents,” across from the White House Sunday evening.
In response to nationwide looting, arson, and urban warfare with police officers, President Trump said over the weekend that he would seek to declare Antifa a terrorist organization. An announcement by the Justice Department on Sunday signaled the use of Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the country to investigate some of the violence in major cities, honing in on leftist Antifa activity.
On Sunday, President Trump was briefly taken by his security team to a bunker at the White House amidst the escalating violence outside of the White House. On Monday evening, the president gave an iconic speech from the White House Rose Garden, stating, “I want the organizers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail. This includes Antifa and others who were leading instigators of this violence.” In a bold and decisive move following his Rose Garden speech, President Trump walked through graffiti-ridden Lafayette Square to St. John’s Church.