In a blistering piece for the Daily Beast, columnist Adam Howard said it didn't take long for Donald Trump to flip back and forth from expressing condolences over the death of George Floyd at the hand of four Minneapolis cops to resorting to the race-baiting he has become known for when appealing to his conservative base.
Identifying the president as the "thug-in-chief," Howard noted the president's statement of sympathy when he said, "I understand the hurt, I understand the pain,” but pointed that it came long after he called protesters calling for the arrest of police officer Derek Chauvin "THUGS" in a tweet that also threatened shootings.
Writing, "his words rang hollow, coming hours after he’d railed about “'THUGS/ on Twitter, expressing his real feelings. Trump has no intention of addressing the root cause of this killing—racially biased excessive force by police. He won’t and he can’t because he has built his political career by scapegoating people of color," he then added, "It’s only a matter of time before the real Trump re-emerges, the one who didn’t bother to differentiate between protesters who were peaceful and those that weren’t. They were all “THUGS,” the president of the United States declared early Friday morning as he ominously warned, purposefully echoing some very dark American history, that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.'"
"An insufficient at best response to the issue of police brutality from this White House was a foregone conclusion ever since the Floyd story literally and figuratively caught fire," he explained. "The president has never seen a racial conflict he didn’t want to exploit for his own benefit, and since he is reeling from sinking poll numbers and a widely held perception that he’s bungled the response to the coronavirus crisis, Minneapolis probably seems like an ideal distraction for him. Whenever his back is against the wall, a bout of good old fashioned race-baiting always seems to do the trick with his devoted following."
According to the columnist, Trump never addressed the real elephant in the room: the failure of authorities to take the white cop into custody despite video evidence of him kneeling on Floyd's neck prior to his death.
"Trump actually had the audacity to claim that looters in Minneapolis, who he obviously is trying to conflate with the many thousands of people protesting injustice there, are 'dishonoring the memory' of Floyd. But what has Trump done to honor Floyd’s memory? Supposedly he has encouraged the FBI and the Justice Department to look into the case, but just as he has not expressed real concern and compassion for the victims of the coronavirus, he has yet to condemn the act of fatal violence perpetrated on Floyd and caught on camera, for the entire world to see," he argued.
"Trump hasn’t yet defended the police here, but he was clearly trying Friday morning to change the subject from what appears to be an act of murder, committed under the color of law, to calling on armed forces to keep 'the blacks,' as he’s often referred to African-Americans, in their place," he wrote, before adding, " This is no surprise. Trump has routinely endorsed and encouraged police brutality, vilified non-violent protesters of color and spit out racist views. His default reaction to crises like these is to find a way to stir the pot that will benefit him electorally."
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