Roger Stokes is a retired Florida firefighter who was caught yelling “white power” in a video retweeted by President Donald Trump, according to the Miami Herald.
The Twitter video, boasting more than 3.2 million views, was uploaded by an unknown user on Saturday. The short clip takes place at The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, and features a parade of pro-Trump supporters on electric carts arguing with anti-Trump protesters.
At one point, a white man holding a sign reading,”Make America Sane Again,” yells: “Where’s your white hood?” Stokes, sporting “Trump 2020” campaign posters, then shouts back, “white power.”
Seniors from The Villages in Florida protesting against each other: pic.twitter.com/Q3GRJCTjEW
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) June 27, 2020
The 71-year-old man was outed as a former Miami-Dade County firefighter after the president retweeted the video Sunday night, thanking the “great people” shown, the Herald reported.
“Thank you to the great people of The Villages,” he wrote, according to a Heavy screen shot. “The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe [Biden] is shot. See you soon!!!”
Trump has since deleted the tweet after facing widespread backlash for sharing Stokes’ message.
Heavy has requested Stokes’ MDFR personnel file.
Here is everything you need to know about Roger Stokes and the viral video:
1. Following a Wave of Criticism, Stokes was Quickly Identified as the Man in the Video
The white supremacist racist in this clip shouting ‘White power’ is a retired @CityofMiamiFire firefighter, named Roger Stokes.
— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) June 28, 2020
Stokes’ behavior was widely condemned on Twitter as racist, with users posting his identity by the end of Sunday evening, the Miami Herald reported.
Strange Days Podcast Host Fernand Amandi confirmed Stokes’ identity on the platform, calling on the Miami Fire Rescue to denounce their former employee.
Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina called the video “offensive” during Jake Tapper’s “State of the Union” program on CNN. The senator asked Trump to take the video off of his page.
“He should not have retweeted and he should just take it down… It is indefensible,” GOP Sen. Tim Scott reacts to the video President Trump shared of a man driving a golf cart with Trump campaign posters, chanting “white power.” #CNNSOTU https://t.co/qF6lh7QjWv pic.twitter.com/tUwQwYv1An
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 28, 2020
“There is no question he should not have retweeted it, and he should just take it down,” Scott said to Tapper. “We can play politics with it or we can’t. I’m not going to. I think it’s indefensible. We should take it down.”
2. Miami-Dade Fire Has Since Denounced Stokes’ Behavior
— MDFR (@MiamiDadeFire) June 29, 2020
The fire rescue organization took to Twitter a day after to distance itself from the “long retired” former employee.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue emphasized that it does not want to associate with the phrase “white power.”
“The statement made by a longtime retired employee does not reflect Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s core values of integrity and respect for the diverse and multi-cultural community we serve,” the organization wrote on Twitter. “This retired employee acted as a private citizen and his views and actions are not representative of who we are and what we stand for.”
3. The White House Has Yet to Condemn the Phrase ‘White Power,’ Saying Only That Trump Did Not Hear it
The Washington Post said that White House spokespeople claimed Trump failed to hear the supporter’s chanting of “white power.”
Staffers “quickly conferred over the phone and then began trying to reach the president to convey their concerns about the tweet” after he quote-tweeted the video early Sunday morning, the Post reported.
Roughly three hours later, Trump agreed to delete his explosive tweet, the newspaper said. But neither he nor his spokespeople have publicly denounced the phrase — launching another wave of debate over how the president’s handling of racial issues.
A new NPR Marist poll claims two-thirds of Americans think Trump has heightened racial tensions since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in white police custody.
4. ‘White Power’ is a White Supremacy Slogan, the Anti-Defamation League Says
The phrase is designed to mimic the “black power” slogan which was widely used by the Black community in the 1960s and 70s, the League says.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, which seeks to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people” and “secure justice and fair treatment to all,” the slogan is frequently invoked as a rallying cry at white supremacist events.
Presidential hopeful Joe Biden condemned the president’s actions on Twitter, writing, “White supremacy should be rooted out and relegated to the pages of history – not promoted by the president of the United States.”
White supremacy should be rooted out and relegated to the pages of history — not promoted by the President of the United States.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) June 29, 2020
5. Stokes is Not Seen Wearing a Mask in the Video, Despite Florida’s Recent Spike in COVID-19 Cases
The crowd at the Village, known for its “elderly and retired population,” did not appear to be following social distancing guidelines or sporting any masks, CBS 12 reported. Stokes did not appear to be wearing a face covering during the rally.
Florida saw another record-breaking day for new coronavirus cases on Saturday, bringing the state total to over 132,000, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The state added more than 8,500 coronavirus cases on Sunday, the Tampa Bay Times said, while the death toll climbed by 29.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the virus is mainly spread through respiratory droplets released into the air by acts like coughing or sneezing.
The CDC also claims that the spread is “more likely when people are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).”
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