Former President Jimmy Carter has issued a statement in response to the police killing of George Floyd, and the subsequent nationwide protests. But the nation's 39th President also took a silent swipe at President Donald Trump, and his handling of the protests.
"We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this," Carter, who is now 95, writes.
It is a stern rebuke to the nation's 45th President, whom Carter does not mention by name.
Carter's comments come in the wake of criticism in the handling of the nationwide protests by former President George W. Bush, who also issued a silent rebuke to President Trump. Bush called for law enforcement to "protect" the protestors and asked: "How do we end systemic racism in our society?"
Former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter say their "hearts are with the victims’ families and all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty. We all must shine a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination."
On Wednesday former President Barack Obama held a town hall on the killing of George Floyd and the protests, calling for police reform and focusing on what Americans, especially young Americans, can do.
This week Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced he opposes President Trump's desire to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would pave the way for U.S. Military troops to police American cities.
Former Trump Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Wednesday broke his silence by saying Trump is a danger to the Constitution, and compared his methods to Hitler's.
Here is President Carter's full statement:
Rosalynn and I are pained by the tragic racial injustices and consequent backlash across our nation in recent weeks. Our hearts are with the victims’ families and all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty. We all must shine a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination. But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution.
As a white male of the South, I know all too well the impact of segregation and injustice to African Americans. As a politician, I felt a responsibility to bring equity to my state and our country. In my 1971 inaugural address as Georgia’s governor, I said: “The time for racial discrimination is over.” With great sorrow and disappointment, I repeat those words today, nearly five decades later. Dehumanizing people debases us all; humanity is beautifully and almost infinitely diverse. The bonds of our common humanity must overcome the divisiveness of our fears and prejudices.
Since leaving the White House in 1981, Rosalynn and I have strived to advance human rights in countries around the world. In this quest, we have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence. People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say “no more” to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy. We are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations.
We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.