Virtually every major city in the US has been consumed by protests for nearly a week, following the brutal death of George Floyd after a police officer knelt on his neck for eight minutes. There have been fires in the streets and many cities instituted curfews.
What We Know:
- Law enforcement has responded to the demonstrations against police violence with more force in many cases, using tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons on protesters, bystanders, and journalists in some cases.
- Nearly half of the country’s governors have called in the National Guard. More than 4,000 were arrested over the weekend alone as Americans expressed their outrage over police brutality and systemic racism in the US.
- Meanwhile, President Donald Trump retreated to a White House security bunker amid the demonstrations on Friday, and spent the weekend fanning the flames of division via Twitter. On Sunday, the lights at the White House were turned off as protests raged on outside.
Lights out at the White House pic.twitter.com/FcKHfA1bg9
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) June 1, 2020
- This was only a giant metaphor for the complete absence of leadership during this national crisis, which has already been enduring less than stellar pandemic success due to the president’s lack of preparation, minimizing, and inconsistency.
- As black Americans and others call for substantial changes to the criminal justice system in the US, and amid a nationwide conversation on racism, Trump also blamed the recent unrest on ANTIFA (anti-fascist movement).
- Moreover, Trump recently designated ANTIFA as a terrorist organization, despite legal hurdles to doing so and the fact ANTIFA has no leader or clear organizational structure. The government is limited to deeming foreign groups as terrorists under the nation’s current laws.
It’s also unclear how the nation would benefit from hearing from the president right now, given his propensity for inciting, rather than alleviating, tensions. Trump also has a history of making racist statements, and considerably low approval rating among black Americans.