President Donald Trump, in an interview on July 14, said the death of George Floyd was “terrible” and said that white people are also dying at the hands of police officers.
When he was asked about why black people are dying at the hands of law enforcement, Trump said, “So are white people.”
“What a terrible question to ask. So are white people,” he told CBS News at the White House. “More white people, by the way.”
A study by Harvard researchers published in June found that the number of white people who died in police custody between 2013 and 2017 was higher than any other demographic. White people, however, constitute a larger population than black people in the United States.
Crime statistics released by the FBI and federal government for 2018 reveal that white people committed about 288,000 violent crimes in 2018, and black people committed around 187,400 violent crimes. It also found that white people committed about 5,280 murders and black people committed 6,380.
Another study from the federal National Center for Biotechnology Information stated that people who died due to lethal force “were majority white (52 percent) but disproportionately black (32 percent) with a fatality rate 2.8 times higher among blacks than whites.”
“Most victims were reported to be armed (83 percent); however, black victims were more likely to be unarmed (14.8 percent) than white (9.4 percent) or Hispanic (5.8 percent) victims.”
According to a Washington Post article, 45 percent of the people killed by police are white, while some 23 percent are black. Black people account for about 13 percent of the population, while white people make up around 60 percent of the population.
Floyd’s death sparked nationwide Black Lives Matter protests and related riots over a several-week period, while the Minneapolis officer seen in a viral video kneeling on Floyd’s neck was later charged with second-degree murder and fired from his job.
Trump’s comments also came in the midst of a surge of crime across major U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and others.
The president was also asked in the CBS interview about whether Confederate flags should be taken down in some parts of the country in light of it reminding people of slavery.
“With me, it’s freedom of speech. Very simple. Like it, don’t like it, it’s freedom of speech,” Trump said. “I know people that like the Confederate flag, and they’re not thinking about slavery. I look at NASCAR—you go to NASCAR, you had those flags all over the place; they stopped it. I just think it’s freedom of speech.”