House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that US presidents should not 'fuel the flame' of civil discord after President Trump was criticized for his inflammatory response to the George Floyd protests.
Pelosi said on ABC's This Week that US presidents should be a 'unifying force' for Americans as clashes over police brutality ravage the county.
'The President of the United States should bring dignity to the office that he serves. He should be a unifying force in our country,' said Pelosi.
'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.'
¿I¿m not paying too much attention to what the president says,¿ Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Trump tweets.
¿I think to take his bait time and time again is just a gift to him because he always wants to divert attention from what the cause of the response was.¿ https://t.co/sVerbxGgdM pic.twitter.com/i6302lt9Yd— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 31, 2020
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (right) said U.S. Presidents should not 'fuel the flame' of civil discord on ABC's This Week on Sunday
Trump has received immense backlash over his response to the death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests.
He appeared to politicize the demonstrations by blaming the 'Radical Far Left' for instances of violence and called demonstrators 'thugs.'
His most controversial tweet came Friday when he warned that 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts.'
Pelosi added that Trump's tweets are 'bait' and suggested the President used social media to distract Americans.
'I think to take his bait time and time again is just a gift to him because he always wants to divert attention from what the cause of the response was, rather than to describe it in his own terms,' she said.
Pelosi (pictured): 'The President of the United States should bring dignity to the office that he serves...not fuel the flame'
During the interview, she doubled down on her stance that George Floyd was murdered by the Minneapolis officer last Monday
Pictured: Protesters hold signs as people rally in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, who died last Monday while in police custody
When questioned about Trump's controversial 'looting' tweet, Pelosi admitted that she 'kind of ignore(s)' the President.
'I’m not paying too much attention to what the President says,' she said, adding that she's 'talking about the injustice, the knee in the neck.'
Pelosi also mentioned former President Barack Obama's statement that said the United States needed to 'create a "new normal"'.
'People say, "Let’s go back to normal." Well, normal hasn’t been so great for a lot of people. Let’s make sure normal is consistent with liberty and justice for all,' said Pelosi.
She doubled down on her previous statements that that death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died while in police custody, was murdered.
'Well, I’ve said right from the start that it was murder. We saw an execution of a person on TV. We saw it happen, a knee to the neck,' she said.
'I had my own concern about a murder three charge. I haven’t seen a situation where there’s a scene of the crime, and people haven’t been taken into custody immediately.'
On May 24, cell phone video showed Floyd, handcuffed and pinned to the ground, with one police officer - Derek Chauvin - kneeling on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
Following Floyd's death, all four officers pictured in cell phone footage of the incident were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department
Several demonstrations have taken place across the US as citizens fight against police brutality and racism
Pictured: A NYPD police car is set on fire as protesters clash with police during a march over the death of George Floyd
Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Floyd was unresponsive.
Floyd, 46, is heard pleading: 'I can't breathe', as he is arrested by four cops for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store. He later died at a local hospital.
Outrage sparked across the country and Minneapolis Mayor Mayor Jacob called for Chauvin to face criminal charges.
All four officers involved were subsequently fired. On Friday, Chauvin was was officially charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death.
Protests have since popped up in several US cities, including Minneapolis, New York City, Atlanta, Phoenix, Columbus, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Philadelphia.
Trump said on Friday that the military was deploying to Minneapolis and threatened that some protestors could come under fire.
After tweeting 'when the looting starts, the shooting starts,' Trump received severe backlash
'These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!' he wrote.
The tweet soon prompted swift backlash for its reference to violence and the phrase's racist origin.
The words echoed the ones used by late Miami police chief Walter Headley, who issued a 'get tough' policy on black protesters during race riots in the city in the 1960s.
'We haven't had any serious problems with civil uprising and looting,' Headley said at a December 1967 news conference The New York Times reported at the time, 'because I've let the word filter down that when the looting starts, the shooting starts.'
'We don't mind being accused of police brutality,' Headley noted. 'They haven't seen anything yet.'
Headly's words were aimed at ‘slum hoodlums’ who he believed took advantage of the Civil Rights Movement. Trump later defended himself on Twitter.
Pictured: Protesters rally at a George Floyd demonstration in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Saturday
On Twitter, President Trump passed blame on Antifa and 'the Radical Left' for instances of violence during protests
Trump announced Sunday that the US would designate Antifa as a terrorist group
Pictured: Police officers look on as a car burns in the back as protesters continue to rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in Washington State
'It means when there's looting, people get shot and they die,' Trump said. 'And if you look at what happened last night and the night before you see that it's very common. And that's the way that was meant.'
'But I don't know where it came from, I don't know where it originated,' the president added.
Twitter flagged Trump's tweet about 'looting and shooting' for 'glorifying violence,' prompting the President to sign an executive order to curb conservative bias on social media.
Trump also received backlash for placing sole blame on 'Antifa and the Radical Left.'
He wrote on Saturday: 'It's ANTIFA and the Radical Left. Don't lay blame on others!'
On Sunday, he announced that the United States would designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.