In the midst of a deadly health outbreak, Black Americans have been forced to emotionally grapple with the executions of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement and overzealous vigilantes. Outrage from their deaths reached a fever pitch this week as imagery from the murder of George Floyd sparked large-scale protests, looting and burning in Minneapolis. Though America has looked to presidents of the past to offer calming reassurance during moments of unrest, Don Lemon succinctly shared on Thursday that nobody is looking to hear from the current administration on these matters.
“As long as we are being honest right now, nobody wants to hear from the White House or the attorney general right now,” Lemon said to CNN colleague Wolf Blitzer before calling out Trump’s racist behavior. “No one wants to hear from the man who wanted the death penalty to come back for the Central Park Five. No one wants to hear from the man who says that the former president was not born in this country. No one wants to hear from the man who says ‘there are very fine people on both sides.’ Do you understand what I am saying?”
Lemons’s comments followed a press conference led by Erica MacDonald, U.S. attorney for the District of Minnesota, where she said that the U.S. Department of Justice was making the investigation into Floyd’s death a “top priority.” Floyd was murdered by officers on Monday after an officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck until he could no longer breathe. Though local officials in the state are asking citizens for patience as Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr monitor the case, Lemon suggests Trump’s own actions have contributed to the racism exhibited in a number of these killings.
“No one wants to hear from the birther-in-chief, from the ‘sons of bitches’-calling person, who says that athletes, who are kneeling for this very reason, no one wants to hear from that.”
Before concluding, Lemon explains that he doesn’t condone the looting that’s going on, but stands in solidarity with protestors’ anger. He also suggested that law enforcement should have the same sense of urgency in stopping police violence and racism as they do with putting an end to the looters and protestors. “Take the mask off,” Lemon said.
Despite Lemons’s wishes, Trump did tweet about the current situation in Minneapolis on Friday. Along with attacking Mayor Jacob Frey for his leadership, Trump also called protestors “thugs” and threatened to call in the National Guard.