After millions of people saw George Floyd’s murder on camera in May 2020, calls for justice erupted almost immediately, particularly among African-Americans.
According to a forthcoming book by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael C. Bender, when Donald Trump saw the footage on Air Force One, he “contoured his face as he watched” and “looked repulsed.”
Trump didn’t finish watching the clip while surrounded by Jared Kushner, his senior adviser; Robert O’Brien, his national security advisor; and Dan Scavino, his social-media director and deputy White House chief of staff.
Trump reportedly said, “This is f—ing terrible.”
An excerpt from the book “Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Donald Trump Lost” was published in Politico magazine on Friday, detailing Trump’s response to the outpouring of grief over Floyd’s death.
The book is set to be released on August 10th.
According to the book, after enraging Attorney General William Barr by demanding an expedited probe into the issue, Trump visited with Barr and recalled hearing stories from his childhood in Queens, New York, about police brutality.
“I know these f—ing cops,” Trump said. “They can be rough.”
Some of those who heard Trump’s remark thought his criticism of the police was unique, revealing a point of view he never expressed in public.
However, Trump did not believe it was his responsibility to show empathy for Floyd, and “he worried that such a display would signal weakness to his base,” the book said.
Trump became enraged following the protests in Minneapolis and across the country.
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd,” he tweeted. “When the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
Trump later decided not to attend Floyd’s funeral. Throughout the summer, Trump’s stance on race relations deteriorated, spilling over into the 2020 presidential election.