On Friday night, President Donald Trump retweeted a Glenn Beck interview discussing George Floyd, the unarmed black man whose death sparked protests across the nation. In the video clip shared by the president, BLEXIT founder Candace Owens said that Floyd, who had drugs in his system and reportedly on his person at the time of his death, was a “symbol of black America.”
“I don’t care if he just stabbed somebody,” Beck said, adding that no one should be killed by the police by being held down with a knee in the neck. But, he continued, Floyd had a “long” criminal record and was “high” and carrying drugs. In the past, symbols of resistance like Rosa Parks, he says, were carefully selected.
Beck questioned whether a man like that is a symbol of black America.
“I’m going to say yes, it is a symbol of black America today,” Owens responded.
“It’s a symbol of a broken culture in black America today and that people are not willing to talk about, again, how we contribute to our own demise.”
I don't care WHAT George Floyd did. The officer should have never treated him like that and killed him! But we still must ask: Is he a HERO? BLEXIT founder @RealCandaceO gave her thoughts: "The fact that he has been held up as a martyr sickens me." pic.twitter.com/0Tm47x5Cc8
— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) June 4, 2020
“The fact that he has been held up has a martyr sickens me. George Floyd was not a good person. I don’t care who wants to spin that. I don’t care how CNN wants to make you think he changed his life around… it’s just not true,” she said.
She then went on to describe Floyd’s alleged crimes and his previous stints in prison, describing an incident where he allegedly held a gun to a pregnant woman’s stomach while robbing her.
Social media users responded to Trump’s decision to amplify the message, saying that it was “disgusting,” sickening, and an attack on a man being held up as an example of police brutality against marginalized people, not as an exemplary life.
Others responded that black Americans didn’t select Floyd as an example of the community, the police made Floyd a focus of the movement. Some said that no one was calling Floyd a hero, only saying that he shouldn’t have been killed for his alleged crime.
Trump’s retweet comes just hours after he gave a speech claiming that Floyd was likely looking down happily after hearing about May’s jobs report, which showed unexpected growth given the continuing coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
The president’s comments were met with an intense backlash from people who slammed him for saying it was a “great day” for the slain man.