White House officials might be considering a plan for President Trump to formally speak on issues related to race and national unity — an idea that has been met less-than-enthusiastically online.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson hinted at Trump’s plans on Sunday during an interview on CNN.
“I believe you’re going to be hearing from the President this week on this topic in some detail. And I would ask you maybe to reserve judgment until after that time,” Carson told “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper when asked how the President would respond to criticism regarding a post he retweeted that attacked the character of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis two weeks ago.
The potential address from the President was met with skepticism and anger.
John Dean, former White House counsel for Richard Nixon, said succinctly: “Spare us, please!”
Spare us, please! Trump knows nothing about race or national unity, plus he can’t read a teleprompter, so it will be like another hostage video… https://t.co/HdG5bcPWkA
— John Dean (@JohnWDean) June 8, 2020
Stephanie Cutter, a former deputy campaign manager for the Obama administration, said of Trump: “He’s the last person to unify this country.”
Why give him the air time? His misinformation at his press COVID-19 briefings cost lives, his march to St. John's Church holding the bible sparked nationwide protests….can we really afford him addressing the nation? He's the last person to unify this country. We are tired. https://t.co/1WBL9dC3QN
— Stephanie Cutter (@stefcutter) June 8, 2020
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), riffing on reports that the President descended into a secret bunker to hide away from protests as they unfolded outside the White House, said of the President:
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 8, 2020
The last time President Trump attempted to address the nation over the unrest that has followed Floyd’s death, a surreal split-screen unfolded as federal law enforcement in riot gear tear-gassed peaceful protesters assembling in a park outside the White House.
Trump’s own defense secretary, as well as prominent conservatives from the Bush administration and religious leaders from the church where Trump staged a photo-op, have criticized the President’s “show of force” to aggressively disperse protesters from Lafayette Park. Sen Mitt Romney (R-UT) even joined protesters in peaceful march in a move that defied Trump’s attempts to silence them.
Any comments made by the President would follow earlier remarks by the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, Joe Biden. The former VP criticized the President for fanning the “flames of hate” in an address that focused on issues of racial injustice and unity at Philadelphia City Hall last week. The former vice president called out for unity denouncing Trump for seizing a moment of reckoning with the country’s painful history of systemic racism to sow further division.