The president retweeted a post by Brandon Straka, a right-wing activist, which called for people to “leave Democratic cities”, as Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets for an 11th week running.
Mr Straka, a Trump supporter who started the #WalkAway movement in 2018 after renouncing the Democratic Party, was commenting on a video of demonstrators in New York City.
The video, originally posted by retired NYPD detective Rob O’Donnell, showed protesters shouting at the driver of a car while they attempted to block traffic on Times Square.
Responding to the video, Straka, who made headlines in June after being recorded refusing to wear a face mask on board an American Airlines flight, said Democrats had “activated a mental illness” that was ruining US cities.
Mr Trump retweeted the post, leading to criticism the US was now existing in a state of “cold civil war.”
“If Obama had retweeted someone saying ‘leave Republican states. Let them rot’ it would have been a multi-week, multi-month political scandal requiring clarifications and apologies from every top Dem.,” columinst Mehdi Hasan said in a tweet.
“With Trump, it won’t even register in *today’s* headlines.”
If Obama had retweeted someone saying ‘leave Republican states. Let them rot’ it would have been a multi-week, multi-month political scandal requiring clarifications and apologies from every top Dem. With Trump, it won’t even register in *today’s* headlines.#imagineifObamadidit https://t.co/Y8vvITaPHQ
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan)
CNN anchor Jake Tapper said: “I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it, but I checked, and yes, the president of the United States actually retweeted this message to ‘Leave Democrat cities. Let them rot.”
“How do @GOP voters living in Democrat-controlled cities feel about the strategy your leader in D.C. just endorsed: ‘Leave Democrat cities. Let them rot.” Maybe you should vote #BidenHarris2020 this time round”, said the author Keith Devlin.
Brandon Friedman, former columnist at the New York Daily News, said that the tweet showed the country was in a “civil war” of sorts.
“This is from the commander-in-chief, the President of the United States, further confirming that we are presently in a cold civil war,” Friedman wrote.