Nancy Pelosi is facing criticism for her tone-deaf reaction to Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict.
The Speaker of the House gave a press conference Tuesday, shortly after Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was filmed kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest on May 25, 2020. Medical experts say Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died of asphyxia due to Chauvin’s neck-restraint tactic. The ex-officer is now facing up to 40 years behind bars.
Pelosi addressed the verdict alongside members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Capitol Hill, expressing gratitude toward the activists, lawmakers, and Floyd’s family for their relentless fight for justice. Her speech then took a bizarre turn when she decided to also thank Floyd for his “sacrifice.”
“Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice,” Pelosi said. “For being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that — call out for your mom, ‘I can’t breathe.’ But because of you, and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice. And now we have to make sure justice prevails in the sentencing.”
Pelosi’s use of the term “sacrifice” sparked immediate backlash across social media, as many pointed out that the word implies an act of willingness. Others quickly came to Pelosi’s defense, categorizing her comment as poorly worded, but well-intentioned. Pelosi shared the following tweet amid the backlash:
You can read reactions to the “sacrificing” comment below.