Trump Rails Against China at Press Conference, Ignores Death of George Floyd

After threatening violence, the president goes silent on police shooting.

Gripas Yuri/Abaca/Zuma

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

After arriving 45 minutes late to a planned press conference on the White House lawn, President Donald Trump spoke for nine minutes about his antipathy toward China—without sparing a single word to address the killing of George Floyd or the ensuing chaos in Minneapolis,

While reporters in Washington, DC, waited for the president to take the podium, he sat somewhere out of sight and tweeted feeble justifications for a prior tweet in which he had said that “THUGS” were “dishonoring the memory of George Floyd” and had added, “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.”

In his afternoon tweets, Trump insisted that he simply meant that “looting leads to shooting,” not that looters should be shot.

Trump’s Friday afternoon tweets may have given the impression that he would address Floyd’s death in his remarks; instead, he railed against China’s actions in Hong Kong, promised to revoke Hong Kong’s special trade status as a way to punish Beijing, and vowed that the US would immediately end its relationship with the World Health Organization.

“China raided our factories, offshored our jobs, gutted our industries, stole our intellectual property, and violated their commitments under the World Trade Organization,” he said. Never passing up an opportunity for a dig at former President Barack Obama, he added, “They were able to get away with a theft like no one was able to get away with before, because of past politicians and, frankly, past presidents.”

When Trump finished speaking, he turned on his heel and left as reporters yelled questions about Floyd and Minneapolis in his wake.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.