WASHINGTON | Donald Trump sparked an uproar saying Friday was “a great day” for George Floyd, a black man whose death by suffocation from the knee of a white police officer sparked a historic rage in the country.
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“We all saw what happened last week. We can’t allow that to happen again, “said the President of the United States of America on the death.
“I hope George looks at us from up there thinking that what is happening in the country is great. It’s a great day for him, it’s a great day for everyone, ”he said.
“This is a big, big day in terms of equality,” he continued, when he is accused of having so far failed to respond to the evils denounced by the demonstrators – racism, violence police, inequalities.
Donald Trump had summoned the media to welcome the surprise drop in unemployment, expected to rise due to anti-coronavirus measures. And he devoted most of his speech to welcoming this economic “rebound”.
His comments on George Floyd were widely interpreted as a surprising rapprochement between this good economic news and this drama that is shaking the United States.
The White House protested this “false” reading.
“The president was very clear about the fight for fair justice and fair treatment before the law when he made this comment,” one of his communications advisers, Ben Williamson, said on Twitter.
Just before commenting on George Floyd, Donald Trump brought up this theme.
“Equality before the law must mean that every American receives the same treatment in every interaction with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender and faith. They must be treated fairly by the police, “he said.
His choice to speak instead of the deceased was in any case strongly criticized.
“George Floyd’s last words -” I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe “- resonated across our country,” said Joe Biden, Donald Trump’s Democratic opponent in the November presidential election.
“That the president is trying to put other words into George Floyd’s mouth is frankly abject,” the former vice president added in a speech.
Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, and the protests that followed, initially marked by looting and riots in many American cities, Donald Trump has favored a martial response.
He introduced himself as the president of “public order” and threatened to send the army to the streets to quell the outbursts. He again took on Friday his call to “dominate the streets”, criticizing state governors who refuse to call on the National Guard.
This posture has earned him unprecedented criticism from former army leaders, including his former defense minister Jim Mattis. The current Pentagon chief, Mark Esper, has also distanced himself from the view that the military should not be deployed.
Donald Trump has always believed that the best policy for reducing inequality is to promote economic growth and lower unemployment among African Americans.
For the past three years, he has repeatedly promoted his decline to present himself as “the president who has done the most for the black community since Abraham Lincoln”, who abolished slavery in the 1860s.