In the wake of more protests in Minneapolis, first lady Melania Trump on Friday morning offered her first public sentiments nearly four days after the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers.
“Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence,” tweeted Trump. “I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let’s focus on peace, prayers & healing.”
The first lady’s message notes a marked difference from the sentiments of President Donald Trump, whose late-night tweet suggested he would condone violence against looters. “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen,” he tweeted. “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The tweet was flagged by Twitter for violating the social media site’s rules against glorifying violence. On Friday morning, the official White House Twitter account retweeted the President’s tweet.
The first lady’s call for peace, not violence, is not the first time during her tenure that her messaging has directly contradicted that of her husband. As recently as last month, when Trump signaled he would defy the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Melania Trump posted a photo of herself wearing a mask — the first public photograph of a Trump family member wearing one. She added a public service announcement about the importance of wearing a mask.
Melania Trump’s Friday tweet about the events surrounding Floyd’s death came minutes before a tweet from the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, who’s also a senior adviser to the President. She tweeted: “People in Minneapolis are hurting for a reason. Justice is how we heal.” She added: “My heart goes out to George Floyd’s family and all Americans who are hurting.” The tone of her tweet also differed from the one posted hours earlier by the President.
Another of the President’s children, Donald Trump Jr, tweeted Friday morning as well. Known for his controversial, bombastic and politically charged tweets and retweets in support of his father, he appeared to express empathy for the citizens of Minneapolis and anger at Floyd’s killing. “What happened to George Floyd was disgusting. He should be alive today & I’m praying for his family,” he tweeted. “People are right to be angry, but there’s never an excuse for the type of violent riots unfolding now. No American should ever have to watch their own community burn to the ground.” Unlike the President, Donald Trump Jr. stops short of calling for action to be taken against looters.