Donald Trump has claimed the city of Minneapolis was “under siege” before the US National Guard was called in during a press conference on Friday in which he implored other cities facing major protests to call the federal government for assistance.
“They were ripping that place apart,” the president said about the city in which George Floyd was killed at the hands of a white police officer named Derek Chauvin, who has since been charged Minneapolis with second-degree murder. “It was under siege like nobody’s ever seen.”
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser meanwhile called on Mr Trump to remove “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence” from the city as protests have continued for ten days.
In lengthy White House remarks amid sweeping social unrest, a rising virus death toll and Depression-level unemployment, the Republican president suggested that even Floyd would be pleased with the latest economic news.
“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country,” Mr Trump said. “This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody.”
Putting words in the dead man’s mouth drew quick criticism, including from likely presidential foe Joe Biden, who said it was “despicable.”
A few blocks away, city workers painted a huge “Black Lives Matter” sign on 16th Street leading to the White House.