Following the killing of at least five police officers in Dallas overnight, a former one-term congressman from Illinois ignited a firestorm with a now-deleted tweet threatening President Obama with “war” and warning Black Lives Matter demonstrators to “watch out.”
“3 Dallas cops killed, 7 wounded,” former congressman Joe Walsh, an Illinois Republican, wrote just before midnight in a tweet that is no longer on his profile. “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black lives matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”
The reaction to the tweet was an immediate mix of shock and outrage as Twitter users assailed Walsh for openly threatening the president and for the racially charged nature of the tweet.
Others accused him of intentionally trying to start a race war.
Walsh’s deleted tweet was not the only one in which he took aim at Obama. After deleting the tweet, Walsh returned to Twitter to respond to the accusations that he was trying to incite a race war. He then blamed Obama and Black Lives Matter protesters for the deaths of the Dallas police officers.
At one point, he called for Black Lives Matter to be classified as a “hate group.”
In a Thursday speech on the shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, black men killed by police officers, delivered well before the Dallas shootings, Obama addressed the notion of anti-police sentiment that has come up in the protests against police killings of mostly black men.
“When people say black lives matter, that doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter,” he said. “It just means all lives matter. . . . This isn’t a matter of comparing the value of lives.”
In other tweets that remain on his profile, Walsh called on “patriotic Americans to stand up & stand against all the Cop haters” — including the president and “uneducated black thugs.”
And Walsh’s tweets kept coming, even after Dallas police officials said repeatedly that while they had certain suspects in custody, they did not know why the shootings had taken place. On Friday morning, Walsh was defending not only his earlier tweets but also his right to jump to conclusions about who was responsible and why.
Incidentally, the LGBT community and Muslims also got some of Walsh’s Twitter ire.
Many wondered whether Walsh’s tweets should have consequences — though they doubted there would be any.
And many more wished Twitter would just ignore him.