House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she is not paying attention to President Donald Trump’s inflammatory tweets about protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, suggesting that the president is contributing to the discord and creating a distraction with his social media posts.
“I kind of ignore what President Trump says,” Pelosi told ABC News’ Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week.”
“To take his bait time and time again is just a gift to him, because he always wants to divert attention from what the cause of the response was, rather than to describe it in his own terms,” she said.
The president on Friday tweeted a message suggesting protesters in Minneapolis could be shot if the demonstrations devolved into looting, which Twitter annotated with a warning that the message glorified violence. He later tweeted that the Secret Service was ready to respond to protesters gathered outside the White House on Friday with “vicious dogs” and “ominous weapons.”
Stephanopoulos pressed the speaker about the president’s tweets, noting that he has criticized mayors for their response to the protests and blamed antifa and the radical left for encouraging violence.
“You ignore him, but at the same time, he’s been continuing to tweet and speak out. Today, he’s attacking the protesters saying it’s part of the far left. He’s attacking the mayors of Minneapolis and the mayor of Washington, D.C.,” Stephanopoulos said. “What should the president of the United States be doing right now?”
“He should be a unifying force in our country. We have seen that with Democratic and Republican presidents all along,” Pelosi said, adding that Trump’s predecessors brought Americans together during times of unrest, and did not “fuel the flame.”
When asked whether the arrest of a single officer for third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter is sufficient for justice to be served in response to Floyd’s death, Pelosi said she has concerns about whether the charges are severe enough.
“I said right from the start that it was murder. We saw an execution of a person on TV,” she said.
“There are others there who witnessed it, who were — would be considered, in other circumstances, accomplices to it,” Pelosi added. “I have my own concern about a murder-three charge.”
Americans, Pelosi said, “should be very prayerful about how we can come together to meet the challenges that we face, as our hearts are broken over losing 100,000 Americans — more than that — to the coronavirus tragedy.”
“Let’s be prayerful, especially on a Sunday morning, about how we can put our differences aside, because this is the greatest country in the world, and we want to live up to the legacy of America.”
Asked how the House would respond to Floyd’s death, Pelosi pointed to a new resolution condemning police brutality and racial profiling that calls for policing reforms at the local, state and federal levels authored by Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass, D-Calif.
She also referenced a measure from Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., that would establish a commission to conduct a “systematic study of the conditions affecting black men and boys.”
A proposal to ban police chokeholds, first introduced by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., in 2015, has not moved in the House since Democrats took control of the chamber, but could be considered by the House Judiciary Committee in the coming weeks.
As protests over Floyd’s murder continue across the country, Pelosi noted that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is also “taking undue tolls among people of color.”
“This is happening at a time of other injustices,” she said.
Negotiations between the House and Senate over the next round of coronavirus response funding and economic relief are at a standstill, after Democrats passed a $3 trillion measure earlier this month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Friday that the Senate would begin reviewing proposals in “about a month.”
“Senator McConnell says we need a pause. Well, the virus isn’t taking a pause, the hunger in America isn’t taking a pause,” Pelosi said. “But they’ve changed their tune, they’re getting closer to (saying) uncle.”
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