Correction June 5, 5:18pm: A previous version of this story asserted that Trump's comments were in the context of the new jobs number. Headline and body have been revised to reflect proper context.
The nation continues to grieve for George Floyd, an unarmed Black father and brother who was murdered by police in Minnesota late last month. Floyd's death highlighted the centuries-long epidemic of police brutality against Black people in the United States, and inspired thousands of people—many of whom had long stayed silent—to take to the streets in protest.
A televised memorial service for Floyd occurred on Thursday, where his family mourned, Civil Rights icon Al Sharpton eulogized, and witnesses stood in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds—the amount of time former police officer Derek Chauvin knelt with his full weight onto George Floyd's neck.
Only a day later, a new jobs report found that the skyrocketing unemployment rate began to fall for the first time, adding 2.5 million jobs as closures from the pandemic began to ease. This was after a total of over 40 million new unemployment claims in the face of pandemic-induced closures.
President Donald Trump was ecstatic and leapt to take the credit. He tweeted quotes from amazed Fox News anchors and announced an impromptu morning news conference, where Vice President Mike Pence and other officials took turns praising him.
Trump spoke as well, and soon invoked the memory of George Floyd.
Donald Trump invokes George Floyd's name during White House speech, prompting Joe Biden to call the president's rem… https://t.co/ah6wYXupBr— BBC News (World) (@BBC News (World))1591384250.0
"Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying 'This is a great thing that's happening for our country.' It's a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody."
Some took Trump's comments to mean he was saying that Floyd would be looking down to say that the jobs report made it a great day in the United States, rather than the increased visibility of the value of Black lives.
Among those speaking out against him was Trump's presumptive 2020 opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
"We're speaking of a man who was brutally killed by an act of needless violence and by a larger tide of injustice that has metastasized on this president's watch...George Floyd's last words, 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe,' have echoed all across this nation and quite frankly around the world. For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd I frankly think is despicable."
Many found the contrast between Biden and Trump to be crystal clear.
@ABCPolitics Trump has no shame. Keep pointing that out @JoeBiden #leaderslead— Dawn White (@Dawn White)1591379359.0
@ABCPolitics Loving the righteous anger. Go Joe!— The Last #FckFascism Jedi (@The Last #FckFascism Jedi)1591381535.0
Biden was far from the only one to condemn Trump's remarks.
.@realDonaldTrump, keep George Floyd’s name out of your mouth until you can say Black Lives Matter. https://t.co/YJ6wPw0Hto— Kamala Harris (@Kamala Harris)1591374041.0
How tone deaf is @realDonaldTrump to say economic news is a great day for George Floyd? https://t.co/ab4ZZYgn5g— Brian J. Karem (@Brian J. Karem)1591377454.0
Trump: This is a great day for George Floyd. Is there a more conscience free, unempathic and tone deaf person in America?— Tony Schwartz (@Tony Schwartz)1591377411.0
In a single statement, Trump manages to denigrate the memory of George Floyd and his experience, while also showing… https://t.co/LNBXL9fXqd— Robert Maguire (@Robert Maguire)1591371881.0