Wednesday, July 6

Trump was concerned that publicly showing’empathy’ in George Floyd case would indicate weakness to political base: book

  • WSJ reporter Michael C. Bender chronicled Trump’s term in office and what led to his 2020 loss.
  • After the death of George Floyd, many Americans were galvanized to fight against racism.
  • Trump was worried that publicly showing “empathy” would turn off his base, according to Bender’s forthcoming book.
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After untold millions of people witnessed the murder of George Floyd on video last year, the calls for justice were immediate, especially among Black Americans.

When former President Donald Trump saw the Floyd video on Air Force One last year, he “contorted his face as he watched” and “looked repulsed,” according to a forthcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael C. Bender.

Trump, who was surrounded by senior advisor Jared Kushner, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and social media director and deputy White House chief of staff Dan Scavino, didn’t finish watching the clip.

“This is f—— terrible,” the former president reportedly said.

Trump’s response to the sustained outcry over Floyd’s death was detailed in an excerpt of the book, “Frankly We Did Win This Election’: The Inside Story of How Donald Trump Lost,” which was published in Politico Magazine on Friday.

After rankling then-Attorney General William Barr last May by calling for an expedited probe into the case, Trump recalled hearing of ferocious tactics used by police growing up in Queens, New York.

“I know these f—— cops,” the former president said. “They can be rough.”

Read more: Steve Bannon asked Trump’s DOJ to reimburse more than $1 million in legal fees from the Russia probe

To some of the individuals who heard the comment, Trump’s critique of the police was quite unusual and reflected a point of view that he never revealed in public.

However, Trump didn’t feel it was his role to display “empathy” in the Floyd case and “he worried that such a display would signal weakness to his base,” according to the book.

After watching demonstrators in Minneapolis and protests that sprouted up across the country, Trump was incensed.

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” he wrote on Twitter. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

After abandoning an idea to pay his respects to Floyd by attending the funeral, Trump’s deteriorating position on race relations continued throughout the summer and spilled into the 2020 presidential election, where he lost to now-President Joe Biden.