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Trump Returns to Pre-Election Form in Tweet Calling Protests 'Unfair'

The president-elect's tweet, which accused activists of being paid agents egged on by the media, caused an immediate backlash.
IMAGE: Donald Trump's Twitter banner
Donald Trump's Twitter

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted his displeasure Thursday night at "unfair" protests against his election and accused activists of being paid agents egged on by the media, putting an end to a brief stretch of conciliatory behavior since Tuesday.

His tone shifted overnight, however, with the president-elect posting a more measured message early Friday.

His first messaged showed Trump apparently moved to anger at what may be the peak moment of validation of his professional life. Earlier in the day, President Barack Obama had congratulated him in at the White House and offered his support to the man who for years had questioned his legitimacy and citizenship.

Trump's first tweet also marked a departure from his past statements on protests and elections, ushering in a new dynamic now that he's poised to inherit a position of power.

Related: Nationwide Protests Continue as Obama and Trump Meet

As early returns came on Election Night 2012, when he mistakenly believed that Republican Mitt Romney had lost the election while winning the popular vote, Trump tweeted: "We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty."

In March of this year, he warned of "riots" by his supporters if Republicans refused to make him their party's nominee.

The tweet Thursday night sparked an immediate backlash, serving as a reminder of the challenges Trump faces matching his outsize personality to the office of the White House, a position that often demands restraint.

At Thursday night's protests in New York, Dymonde Lee, a native New Yorker back for a visit, called Trump's tweet "crazy." And Michael Charles, a longtime resident of the city, said he'd be happy to get paid, dismissing the tweet as "more of the same" from Trump.