First lady Melania Trump on Friday weighed in on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis by saying “there is no reason for violence.”
The remarks were Trump’s first public comments on the violent demonstrations surrounding the police killing of Floyd, an unarmed African American man who died this week.
“Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence. I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now,” she tweeted. “My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let’s focus on peace, prayers & healing.”
The first lady’s tweet followed one from President Trump earlier on Friday that was flagged by Twitter for being a “glorification of violence.”
“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” the president tweeted, referring to reports of looting and arson.
“Any difficulty, and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” he added after noting he had been in contact with Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D).
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Footage from Thursday night shows crowds of protesters cheering as the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct was set on fire in response to Floyd’s death on Monday night. The 46-year-old was pronounced dead shortly after a city police officer pinned Floyd’s head to the street with a knee on his neck.
Video captured Monday’s incident, in which Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe.”
Minutes later, medical responders found him without a pulse.
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