U.S. President Donald Trump is facing pressure from within the White House to make a public address to the nation amid the unrest that has spread across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd after a police officer held a knee to his neck in Minneapolis.
Trump has taken to Twitter to make a number of statements about the protests and spoke briefly to reporters late in the week about the national response, but has not yet addressed the nation. As Katherine Faulders of ABC News reported on Twitter, there is growing sentiment within the White House that Trump must speak to the country as a whole.
‘There is mounting pressure inside the White House for President Trump to make a formal address to the nation from the White House amid the chaos and unrest erupting across the United States,” Faulders reported.
Protests continued to grow on Saturday, with demonstrations in dozens of American cities, including a number that grew violent, with protesters damaging property and looting stores in some cities.
A number of people have pointed fingers at Trump for stoking racial divisions throughout his presidency, saying that he is at least partly to blame for the tensions that have arisen after the death of Floyd and other people of color killed at the hands of police, as well as the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia.
In an appearance on CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that Trump’s tweets calling violent protesters “thugs” and promising to unleash “the unlimited power of our Military” on protesters is only fueling the unrest. She also compared the current situation to Trump’s reaction to violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when white supremacist groups descended on the city to protest the removal of a Confederate statue and clashed with counterprotesters, leaving one person dead.
“And this is so reminiscent of Charlottesville when President Trump just made it worse,” Bottoms said. “And there are times that you should just stop. And this is- this is one of those times. He’s making it worse. This is not about using military force. This is about where we are in America. We are beyond a tipping point in this country. And his rhetoric only inflames that. And he should just sometimes stop talking.”
Trump has blamed current violence on far-left groups, saying that the anti-fascist group Antifa is leading the violence.