Acosta: Trump punted on addressing Minneapolis protests

Trump did not meet the protesters or visit Minneapolis despite the precedent

Visiting the site of a national tragedy is something the President of the United States is often called to do – listen to Americans who have been affected by an event that has attracted the country’s attention and called for national unity.

Trump expressed sympathy from the heavily fortified White House gates, and invoked Floyd’s name during an event focusing on American jobs. He was photographed in a church ravaged by thieves after peaceful demonstrators had been cleared of the area with riot deterrents, such as pepper balls. He held a round table with representatives of national law enforcement organizations, Sharif Jomhouri and two Republican prosecutors, to hear their side of the case.

But Trump’s efforts to deal with the demonstrations, in many ways, have reaped criticism and sowed division.

Vice President Mike Pence held a series of hearings with members of the African American community.

To date, these carefully curated events have not included the Floyd family, Black Lives Matter organizers, or national civil rights activists. Instead, they were held in and around Washington, and the guests were black conservatives, spiritual leaders, and community leaders in the Washington area. One guest, Candice Owens He said Floyd was “an example of a violent criminal throughout his life, until the very last moment”, which is that he should not be considered a martyr and that “He wasn’t a good person.”
Trump also said that he spoke to Floyd’s family over the phone. But Floyd’s brother, Felonis Floyd, said that their conversation was “short” and unilateral.

Floyd said: “He didn’t even give me a chance to speak.” “It was difficult. I was trying to talk to him, but he kept pushing me, like” I don’t want to hear what you’re talking about. ”

A late White House solution to calling for national unity could come in the form of a presidential speech this week.

A senior administration official said that talk of issues related to race and national unity is under serious consideration. In an interview with “State of the Union” on CNN on Sunday, Minister of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson – the only black member of Trump’s government – hinted that “we will hear from the president this week in some detail.”

But so far, Trump has not been directly exposed to members of the American public who have disagreed with his policy since he took office.

From time to time, Trump met Democratic lawmakers, watched a protester accompany him outside the rally, or led a person with a protest sign who isolated his convoy. In a rare and direct public interaction with a person who does not agree with his principles, Pence once faced a defender of Medicaid and Medicare expansion while he was falling down in Iowa to stop the re-election campaign.

In general, though, the White House does not put the president in a position to be challenged by ordinary Americans who oppose his political views. Indeed, it is very rare for a modern American president to publicly confront ordinary Americans who oppose their administration’s policies. Each meeting and round table is organized and carefully occurring with examination by White House staff.

But there is a precedent for US presidents to meet with activists and civil rights leaders, or, in at least one case, visit the sites of mass protests rooted in ethnic tensions.

President John F. Kennedy met civil rights leaders on the same day that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. President George HW. Bush was criticized for waiting five days to visit Los Angeles in the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots after exonerating police officers involved in the brutal beating of Rodney King. President Richard Nixon met with anti-Vietnam protesters before dawn at the Lincoln Memorial five days after the accident at Kent State University, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire and killed four students to protest the expansion of the war in Cambodia.

Criticism and division were met by some of Trump’s previous visits to American societies feeding the wounds of the national tragedy.

During a visit to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria, Trump has been criticized for the accidental slandering of paper towel rolls At a supply center while visiting well-fortified neighborhoods on the island to celebrate his administration’s response to the hurricane season.
Trump also faced a political response to his visits to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, following the mass shootings in their communities. Some politicians in those cities discouraged the president’s visit and some El Paso fire victims said they did not want to meet the president.
Trump also falsely accused Ohio Democrats Senator Sherrod Brown and the Mayor of Dayton Nan Wiley are “totally distorted” for his visit to the Ohio Hospital to meet Dayton victims. But neither Brown nor Wiley suggested that his visit to the hospital is poorly received.

Kristen Holmes and Sarah Westwood of CNN contributed to this report.

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