Since Trump’s personal attack on May 30, Bowser has fought back fiercely against the president’s bullying, taunting him with tweets and criticisms of her own. On Friday, she rebuked him with a defiant display of street art in which she sought to draw a clear contrast with Trump’s calls for “law and order” by demonstrating active support for peaceful protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Over the past 10 days — set against the backdrop of the pitched national protests over police violence — their once relatively temperate relationship has erupted into an ugly schism freighted with the overtones of race and power that have infused the protests, as well as city leaders’ long and fruitless fight for D.C. statehood.
For Trump, the row has resembled the frequent nasty political fights he has had, often at his instigation, with numerous Democratic mayors and governors as he has sought to portray them as incompetent leaders of dysfunctional cities and states. Aides said the president believes Bowser, despite seeing violence in protests in other cities, was slow to react — and that scenes of fires and looting in the nation’s capitol were damaging to public confidence just as the president was pushing to reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.