Trump suggests George Floyd is 'looking down' from heaven and appreciating the 'great day in terms of equality' after an unexpectedly strong jobs report was announced

Advertisement
Trump suggests George Floyd is 'looking down' from heaven and appreciating the 'great day in terms of equality' after an unexpectedly strong jobs report was announced
U.S. President Donald Trump talks about a U.S. jobs report amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic as he addresses a news conference as White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow listens in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 5, 2020.REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
  • During a rambling Friday-morning press conference about the strong May jobs report, President Donald Trump said he hoped George Floyd, who was killed by the Minneapolis police 10 days ago, was "looking down" and appreciating the "great day in terms of equality."
  • It was unclear whether the president was saying Floyd would be pleased with the surprisingly good employment news on Friday morning or the US's response to widespread protests.
  • The economy added 2.5 million jobs in May, bringing the unemployment rate down to 13.3% from 14.7% in April.
  • "Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country," Trump said.
  • "It's a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody," Trump said, adding that it "is a great, great day in terms of equality."

In a freewheeling Friday-morning press conference in the Rose Garden, President Donald Trump touted a strong May jobs report and said he hoped George Floyd, who was killed by the Minneapolis police 10 days ago, was "looking down" from heaven and saying this "is a great thing that's happening for our country."

The jobs report stunned economists and defied forecasts of further economic decline. The US added 2.5 million jobs in May, bringing the unemployment rate down to 13.3% from 14.7% in April.

In his press conference, Trump took a victory lap on the economy, boasted about the US's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic — which has now killed over 105,000 Americans — and spoke about racial justice and police brutality.

Advertisement

"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," Trump said.

"We all saw what happened last week. We can't let that happen," Trump added. "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. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It's really what our Constitution requires, and it's what our country is all about."

It was unclear whether the president was saying Floyd would be pleased with the surprisingly good employment news on Friday morning or the US's response to widespread protests.

Advertisement

In a statement to Insider, a Trump campaign spokeswoman pushed back on the notion that Trump was implying that Floyd would be thinking the jobs report was a "great thing happening."

"In the course of Rose Garden remarks about strong economic news, the President also spoke of the national conversation that is taking place following Mr. Floyd's killing, and of Americans coming together on the belief that everyone should be treated equally under the law," said Courtney Parella, a deputy press secretary. "Media claims that the President said that Mr. Floyd would be praising the economic news are wrong, purposefully misrepresented, and maliciously crafted."

Shortly after his remarks about Floyd, Trump said a strong economy would help solve the deep roots of structural racism.

Advertisement

When the "PBS NewsHour" correspondent Yamiche Alcindor asked Trump whether he had a specific plan to tackle systemic racism, Trump referred to the rebounding economy and lower unemployment.

"What's happened to our country and what you now see, what's been happening, is the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, for the African American community, for the Asian American, for the Hispanic American community, for women, for everything," Trump said.

When Alcindor again asked what Trump's plan was, he said: "Because our country is so strong, and that's what my plan is. We're going to have the strongest economy in the world. We almost are there now. We had the strongest economy anywhere in the world, and now we're going to have an economy that's even stronger."

Advertisement

Trump didn't elaborate when another reporter asked how a better economy would have protected Floyd. When Alcindor noted that Black and Asian American unemployment ticked up slightly in May, by 0.1% and 0.5%, Trump said only, "You are something."

Unemployment among Black Americans is at 16.8%, the highest level in more than 10 years.

Floyd's death on May 25 has sparked widespread protests and demonstrations against police violence around the country. All four officers who arrested him have been fired and criminally charged in connection with his killing.

Advertisement

Derek Chauvin, the officer who was recorded pinning his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes, has been charged with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder.

Minnesota state prosecutors this week charged the three other officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that it's not clear whether Trump's unscripted comments about Floyd were in regard to the newly released jobs numbers, the country's response to widespread protests, or both.

Advertisement
{{}}