President Donald Trump sparked controversy on Friday, calling it a "big day" for George Floyd, the man whose death last week sparked nationwide protests against police brutality against African Americans.
"We all saw what happened last week. We can't let that happen," Trump said of Floyd, who was killed when a white Minneapolis policeman knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
"Hopefully George is looking straight down and saying: & # 39; This is a great thing that is happening to our country. & # 39;"
The statements during a televised White House briefing came eleven days after Floyd's death and caused confusion as to why Trump thought it was a great day for Floyd.
"This is a great, great day on equality," added Trump, despite being accused by many of not responding to racism, police brutality, and the inequalities protesters are protesting.
Trump had asked the media to welcome a surprisingly strong US job report, the opposite of what economists had expected to do to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The rest of his speech was devoted to welcoming the good news about the economy that Trump said was now in "missile" mode.
Trump's Great Day comments were considered by many to be too closely related to Floyd's death and the good economic news of the day and spoke on Floyd's behalf about the economy.
The White House called such an interpretation "wrong".
"It was very clear that the President was speaking about the fight for equality and equality under the law when he made this comment," White House chief communications advisor Ben Williamson wrote on Twitter.
Trump raised the issue before speaking about Floyd: "Equal justice under the law must mean that every American is treated equally every time he meets law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender, or creed," he said.
& # 39; Despicable & # 39;
Trump's decision to put words in Floyd's mouth has been sharply criticized.
Joe Biden, his alleged democratic opponent in the November elections, immediately beat Trump for referring to Floyd's name and called him "despicable."
"George Floyd's last words" I can't breathe "have been repeated across our nation and around the world," tweeted Biden.
"To be honest, the President's trying to put other words in his mouth is despicable."
Trump has advocated a military response since Floyd's death on May 25 and the subsequent protests, which included riots and looting in many U.S. cities.
Trump presents himself as the "Law and Order" president and has threatened to send the US military onto the streets to suppress the ongoing demonstrations.
Trump reiterated on Friday that the authorities must "dominate the streets" and criticized governors in states that had refused to deploy the National Guard during protests and riots.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper rejected Trump for the idea of deploying troops, a proposal that was heavily criticized by previous Pentagon leaders, including Jim Mattis.
Trump has always believed that the best policy to reduce inequality is to promote economic growth among African Americans.
"What you see now … is the best thing that can happen for racial relationships, for the African American community, for Asian Americans, for Hispanic Americans, for women, for anything," Trump said on Friday.
"Our country is so strong and that is my plan. We will have the strongest economy in the world," he added.
Over the past three years, Trump has repeatedly claimed that he had "done more for the black community than any other president since Abraham Lincoln" who abolished slavery in the 1860s.