House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she “kind of ignore(s)” President Donald Trump’s controversial comments on the nationwide protests spurred by the recent killing of an unarmed black man in Minnesota.
In an interview with ABC, the California Democrat also praised former President Barack Obama’s recent statement on the unrest and said she thinks Trump should unify, not divide, the country.
“I’m not paying too much attention to what the President says,” Pelosi said when asked about Trump’s recent tweet that included a phrase with racist origins. “I kind of ignore what President Trump says.”
“The President of the United States should bring dignity to the office that he serves. He should be a unifying force in our country. We have seen that with Democratic and Republican presidents all along. They have seen their responsibility to be the President of the United States, to unify our country and not to fuel the flame,” Pelosi said when asked what Trump should be doing in the wake of the protests, some of which have turned violent.
The comments from Pelosi come after the killing last week of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis. Protesters who have taken to the streets in recent days to draw attention to the case and police violence across America say they want to see charges for all four police officers involved in Floyd’s death. So far, officials have only charged the officer who was seen in a video with his knee on Floyd’s neck with third-degree murder and manslaughter – charges the protesters believe aren’t harsh enough.
Asked whether she thinks the other officers involved in Floyd’s death should also be arrested, Pelosi called his killing “an execution of a person on TV” and remarked, “I haven’t seen a situation where there’s a scene of the crime and people haven’t been taken into custody immediately.”
The Democratic leader also said she was proud of the “calm work” the Congressional Black Caucus and House Judiciary Committee has done to respond to Floyd’s death.
“This is not the first time. This is part of a pattern and we just have to make sure that as we seek normal, that it’s a new normal, as President Obama said, where we don’t have all of this injustice,” Pelosi said. She later went on to specifically praise bills sponsored by House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries and Democratic Rep. Frederica Wilson addressing police violence and racial inequality.
Last week, as protests focused on Floyd’s death grew, Obama said in a statement that the killing “shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America” and called on the American public “to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”
CNN’s Kate Sullivan and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.