Former President Donald Trump attempted to use the recent Atlanta protest and the Monterey Park, California, mass shooting to defend January 6 rioters, despite the latter seemingly having no connection or resemblance to the Capitol attack.
Trump made the comment on Sunday morning on his social media platform, Truth Social. In it, he says that the perpetrators of both events will not be punished and proceeded to rail against January 6, 2021, riot participants having “their lives ruined,” while seemingly promising again to pardon them should he be reelected in 2024.
“[Ten] dead in California shooting, horrible gun wielding ANTIFA protest against our great police in Atlanta – Nothing will happen to them despite night of rage and destruction,” Trump’s post read. “Yet our January 6th protestors, over a Rigged Election, have had their lives ruined despite nobody killed except true Patriot Ashli B. This situation will be fully rectified after 2024 Election. Thank you!”
The Atlanta protest that Trump referred to occurred on Saturday, with participants gathering to protest the recent police killing of activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán on Wednesday. Terán, 26, had gotten into a verbal altercation with officers near the planned sight of a massive police training facility, colloquially known as “Cop City.”
The Saturday protest began peacefully, but did briefly escalate to violence at one point, with attendees throwing rocks and fireworks, smashing windows, and setting a police car on fire, Reuters reported. Despite Trump’s reference in his post to a “night of rage and destruction,” Reuters added that the “violence quickly fizzled without anyone injured.”
The California mass shooting Trump mentioned took place at a dance studio in the Monterey Park suburb of Los Angeles, near an event for the Chinese Lunar New Year. A gunman, who remains at large and unidentified, opened fire into the studio, killing 10 and leaving more critically injured. The U.S. Census Bureau’s data reports that 65 percent of Monterey Park residents identify as Asian American.
“Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones tonight in our neighboring city, Monterey Park, where a mass shooting just occurred,” Kenneth Mejia, Los Angeles’ city controller, said in a statement. “Monterey Park is home to one of the largest Asian communities in Los Angeles County and many were out celebrating the Lunar New Year.”
It is unclear, based on his Truth Social post and the available reporting on the incident, why Trump invoked the mass shooting and what he believes it had in common with the Atlanta protest and the Capitol riot.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s representatives for comments.