President Donald Trump and his predecessor, President Barack Obama, had very different responses to the death of George Floyd. On Monday, Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis, leading to three days of protests in the city and elsewhere. Trump sent out several tweets on the situation, including one that was flagged as "glorifying violence" by Twitter, and he briefly discussed Floyd at the start of an afternoon meeting with industry executives. Obama also issued a statement on Floyd's death, inspiring comparisons online between the two.
On Friday afternoon, Trump briefly spoke from the White House Rose Garden about China, the coronavirus and his decision to stop supporting the World Health Organization. He left the stage without taking any questions and did not mention the situation in Minneapolis at all. Trump did reveal he spoke with Floyd's family at the beginning of a meeting with executives on reopening America during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump called Floyd's death a "a terrible, terrible thing that happened" and said the Justice Department will run a federal investigation, reports CNN.
"We have peaceful protesters, and support the rights for peaceful protesters. We can’t allow a situation like (what happened) in Minneapolis to descend further into lawless anarchy and chaos," Trump continued, adding that the memory of Floyd should "be a perfect" memory. "I understand the hurt," Trump added. "I understand the pain. People have really been through a lot. The family of George is entitled to justice and the people of Minnesota are entitled to live in safety."
Obama shared his own message on social media, reminding many that for "millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it's while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park." Obama said this should not be "normal" in 2020 America and it "can't be" if "we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better."
Obama: insight, understanding, compassion, hope.
Trump: trashy tweets, including a threat of violence.— MURRAY (@murray_nyc) May 29, 2020
In the end of his statement, Obama said it was "mainly" up to Minnesota officials to investigate Floyd's death thoroughly, but there was still work for everyone else to do. "It falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station — including the majority of men and women in law enforcement who take pride in doing their tough job the right way, every day — to work together to create a 'new normal' in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts," Obama wrote.
Thank you for your words Mr. President. Our country could surely use your leadership right now.— Angela Belcamino (@AngelaBelcamino) May 29, 2020
Floyd died on Monday after police took him into custody because a grocery store employee accused him of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Footage from the scene shows police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck, and he can be heard complaining he could not breathe. Chauvin and three other officers involved in the incident were fired. On Friday, Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
My President Barack Obama vs the impeached president whose tweets get flagged by Twitter for glorifying violence. pic.twitter.com/u2TnBhkfoi— C. D. Langlois🌊 (@SFLiberalMom) May 29, 2020
This is my president.
He will always be my president because he wants everyone in our country to be a better version of ourselves, so we can unite and be better together.May 29, 2020
The Orange imbecile currently occupying the WH is NOT MY PRESIDENT. I thought Obama did TONS wrong and I was no fan, but he knew how to ACT LIKE A PRESIDENT. November is no longer an option. If you are an American and want America to survive, YOU MUST VOTE. https://t.co/O8lXHxoVTY— Jason Sandasta (@sandastaisme) May 29, 2020