It appears that Donald Trump suffers from foot-in-mouth syndrome.
During a long, rambling press conference on Friday, Trump said that he hopes George Floyd is “looking down right now” on us, as he spoke about the slight dip in unemployment numbers.
Trump said in full: “Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender, or creed. They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen.”
He continued, “Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing that's happening for our country.’ It's a great day for him, it's a great day for everybody. It's a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”
The reaction to Trump's statement was both swift and harsh, particularly from Joe Biden.
Despite Trump's positive outlook, the reality is that the unemployment rate for Black Americans is steadily climbing. The Independent reports that unemployment among Black American has increased by .1 percent. When asked about the increase by PBS' Yamiche Alcindor, Trump openly dismissed her.
The nation’s overall unemployment rate has decreased from 14.7 percent in April to 13.3 percent in May, as the country’s economy continues to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic, which forcibly shuttered businesses and mandated layoffs across a number of industries.
Trump's comments on Floyd also come as he continues to fuel the fire that has been lit by his death. On Wednesday, he referred to peaceful protestors as “terrorists”—and in late May, he referred to them as “thugs,” while also threatening to have the military engage in shooting them.
It's also worth noting that Twitter pulled a video shared by Trump’s campaign team that was meant to be a tribute to Floyd. The visual was reportedly removed due to a copyright-infringement claim from an owner of an image in the video. Trump’s team was angered by Twitter’s decision, which follows the social media platform’s decision to fact-check and hide inflammatory posts from Trump amid the ongoing protests.
According to The Daily Beast, Andrew Clark, spokesman for the Trump campaign, responded to Twitter, saying, “Censoring out the president’s important message of unity around the George Floyd protests is an unfortunate escalation of this double standard.”
As the pandemic and over 10 straight days of nationwide protests continue, Trump’s approval remains low. A poll from ABC News and Ipsos shows that only 32 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s response to Floyd’s death, while around two-thirds disapprove.