Atlanta Mayor Condemns Trump's Response to George Floyd Protests: 'He Speaks and He Makes It Worse'
"He should just stop talking. This is like Charlottesville all over again," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is condemning President Donald Trump for his comments on the protests over racial injustice and police brutality in response to the killing of George Floyd while in police custody.
"He should just stop talking. This is like Charlottesville all over again," the mayor said, referring to the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally organized by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, which erupted in a violent clash with counter-protesters.
"He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet and I wish that he would just be quiet. Or if he can't be silent, if there is somebody of good sense and good conscience in the White House, put him in front of a teleprompter and pray he reads it and at least says the right things, because he is making it worse," Bottoms said.
The ongoing protests began last week in Minneapolis when footage of Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck, surfaced online. Derek Chauvin, the officer in the video, was fired from the department on and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers who were present at the time of Floyd's death are still under investigation.
Trump, 73, has repeatedly condemned protestors and appeared to promote violence amid nationwide unrest. Last week, he called some of the protesters "thugs" who were "dishonoring the memory of George Floyd." The president then threatened intervention — seeming to suggest that the military would "shoot" looters.
On Saturday morning, Trump shared a series of tweets praising the Secret Service for coming down "hard" on the protesters who stood outside the White House on Friday. "Great job last night at the White House by the U.S @SecretService. They were not only totally professional, but very cool. I was inside, watched every move, and couldn't have felt more safe," Trump wrote.
Trump then praised his agents for letting "'protesters' scream & rant as much as they wanted, but whenever someone got too frisky or out of line," his agents would "quickly come down on them, hard — didn't know what hit them."
Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, recently spoke with both Biden and Trump, and said the president "didn't give me the opportunity to even speak" during their phone call.
"It was so fast," Philonise said of his conversation with Trump, which took place on Friday. "He didn't give me the opportunity to even speak. It was hard. I was trying to talk to him but he just kept like pushing me off like 'I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about.' I just told him I want justice. I said that I can't believe that they committed a modern-day lynching in broad daylight."
Trump made remarks about his call with Floyd on Saturday, claiming that he "expressed the sorrow of our entire nation for their loss."
"I understand the pain that people are feeling," Trump said. "We support the right of peaceful protests and we hear their pleas, but what we are now seeing on the streets of our cities has nothing to do with the memory of George Floyd. The violence and vandalism is being led by Antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings."
"The main victims of this horrible, horrible situation are the citizens who live in these once-lovely communities ... The mobs are devastating the life's work of good people and destroying their dreams. We support the overwhelming majority of police officers who are incredible in every way and devoted to public service."
Meanwhile, on Monday, Biden took part in a virtual call with Bottoms, as well as mayors from Los Angeles, Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota, to speak to them about their cities. During the chat, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti condemned the president and his response to the protests, telling Biden, "We need some morality and we need some leadership."