Former President Barack Obama on Friday issued a call to address racial inequality in the wake of George Floyd’s death — just hours after President Donald Trump doubled down on his call to shoot looters in Minneapolis.
In a formal statement, Obama discussed the grief being felt within the black community over Floyd’s death, which came after a white police officer kept a knee on the back of his neck for several minutes even after he pleaded that he was having trouble breathing.
He then said that Floyd’s death was just part of the struggles faced by black Americans every day.
“We have to remember 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,” he said.
Obama then declared that these problems “shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America” and he issued a call to “work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment not longer infects our institutions and our hearts.”
Obama’s call to fight for racial justice came just hours after the Trump White House reposted Trump’s declaration that warned protesters in Minneapolis that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Read Obama’s full statement below.
My statement on the death of George Floyd: pic.twitter.com/Hg1k9JHT6R
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 29, 2020