The response from president Trump to the death of George Floyd and the subsequent rioting is, how shall we say it, not very presidential.
Firstly, Trump was censored by Twitter for appearing to glorify violence for saying 'when the looting stars, the shooting starts' in an apparent threat to the protestors.
Although he has since said that 'George Floyd will not have died in vain' Trump did spend most of his Friday on Twitter, complaining about social media firms, China and at one point appeared to gloat that the protestors in Atlanta had smashed the entrance of the city's CNN office.
He also opted to not make any comments about the situation in his daily press conference but did declare that he was withdrawing the US from the World Heatlh Organisation, in the middle of a pandemic.
At this stage, it almost feels churlish to compare Trump and Barack Obama but the gap in decency and intelligent discourse, especially on this issue is quite staggering.
On Friday afternoon the former president posted this on his Twitter account:
My statement on the death of George Floyd: https://t.co/Hg1k9JHT6R— Barack Obama (@Barack Obama) 1590768414
In the statement, Obama accounts the conversations that he has had with friends in recent days about Floyd's death and the range of emotions that they have felt adding:
This shouldn't be "normal" in 2020 America. It can't be "normal." If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.
Obama also mentions the viral video from 12-year-old Keedron Bryant, who sings:
Every day/I’m being hunted as prey … My people want no trouble/We’ve had enough struggle … I just want to live.
Obama shared the video on his Facebook page.
Needless to say, Obama's statement has received far more praise than anything Trump has said:
Remember when our President used to ACTUALLY speak in clear sentences.. And say the things we needed to hear….? https://t.co/SXYVSAkZui— ICE T (@ICE T) 1590782746
Well said. We can and must do better. https://t.co/dER4lyw0gM— Katherine McNamara (@Katherine McNamara) 1590792354
Thank you, Mr. President. Hard truths, and well said. https://t.co/vBAkPotzJR— Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷 (@Joy-Ann (Pro-Democracy) Reid 😷) 1590770531
We need to live up to our highest ideals. We can, and must be better. A nation in crisis needs healing words from s… https://t.co/am6ZkdzpOL— Mark Hamill (@Mark Hamill) 1590790647
bittersweet reading eloquent, intelligent, accurate words from a decent human being. he was our president and an en… https://t.co/BvNHF9AuU5— Baratunde (@Baratunde) 1590774853
What a contrast with his successor. America, and the world, could do with his leadership right now. https://t.co/irEmA17BvG— Wes Streeting MP (@Wes Streeting MP) 1590773943
Michelle Obama also shared her thoughts in a heartfelt Twitter threat paying tribute to not just George Floyd but other victims of violence and brutality.
Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move pas… https://t.co/MZ3cSmPixn— Michelle Obama (@Michelle Obama) 1590793241
It’s up to all of us—Black, white, everyone—no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, unco… https://t.co/9H1ALgCnQI— Michelle Obama (@Michelle Obama) 1590793241
It ends with justice, compassion, and empathy that manifests in our lives and on our streets. I pray we all have th… https://t.co/lxZwLV0VR9— Michelle Obama (@Michelle Obama) 1590793242
Melania Trump has also released a statement about the subject, which didn't condemn the death of Floyd but did call for 'peace, prayers and healing' which is more than her husband has done.
Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence. I’ve seen our citizens unify & take… https://t.co/45WA6dzg4f— Melania Trump 45 Archived (@Melania Trump 45 Archived) 1590761402
In the wake of Floyd's death mass rioting and violence have broken out across the United States with clashes even being reported outside the White House. Derek Chauvin, the police officer who was recorded with his knee on the back of Floyd's death has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.