Joe Biden condemned Donald Trump for invoking George Floyd's name at a White House press conference on Friday following the latest jobs report showing a decline in nationwide unemployment.
On Friday, the president said "this is a great day" for Mr Floyd, a black Minneapolis man whose death on Memorial Day while in handcuffs has galvanised global protests against police brutality.
Mr Trump promoted "equal protection under the law" and touted the latest unemployment rate, which remains in double digits following the coronavirus pandemic. He suggested a "strong" economy would help repair racial tensions.
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He said: "Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, 'This is a great thing that's happening for our country.' This is a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody."
Mr Biden, the president's likely Democratic challenger for the presidency, said that Mr Trump "was speaking of a man who was brutally killed by an act of needless violence, and by a larger tide of injustice that has metastasised on this president's watch has moved to split us based on race, religion, ethnicity."
"George Floyd's last words, 'I can't breathe', have echoed all across this nation and, quite frankly, around the world," he said from Delaware State University on Friday. "For the president to try and put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd I think quite frankly is despicable."
While the nation's unemployment rate improved slightly from 14.7 per cent in April to 13.3 per cent in May against analysts predictions, the rate among black Americans increased by 0.1 per cent to 16.8 per cent, the highest in more than a decade.
Mr Biden said the US is in the midst of a "crisis of violence, injustice and indignity" while the president is "patting himself on the back".
"He just has no idea in my view of what's really going on in this country," he said. "He remains completely oblivious to the human toll of his indifference. It's time for him to step out of his own bunker, take a look around at the consequences of his word and actions."
The former vice president was among other prominent Democrats who criticised the president for his remarks outside the White House on Friday.
California senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris said on Twitter: "Keep George Floyd's name out of your mouth until you can say Black Lives Matter."