Biden shreds Trump for calling Friday a 'great day' for George Floyd

Pointing to a promising jobs report, Trump said earlier in the day, "Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, 'This is a great thing happening for our country.'"
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University in Dover on June 5, 2020.
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University in Dover on June 5, 2020.Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images

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By Adam Edelman

Joe Biden blasted President Donald Trump for remarking Friday that “this is a great day for” George Floyd — who died last week in police custody — while touting positive economic data.

Speaking in Dover, Del., the apparent Democratic presidential nominee ripped into Trump for “speaking of a man who was brutally killed by an act of needless violence” and accused the president of failing to curb a “larger tide of injustice that has metastasized on” his watch.

At a news conference earlier Friday to address May unemployment figures that were released in the morning, Trump said, “Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, 'This is a great thing happening for our country.'”

"This is a great day for him, it's a great day for everybody,” the president said.

In his remarks Friday, Biden responded, “George Floyd's last words, ‘I can't breathe. I can't breathe,’ they've echoed all across this nation, quite frankly around the world. For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd I frankly think is despicable."

Floyd, who was black, died on Memorial Day when a white Minneapolis police officer planted a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes during a violent arrest.

His death has sparked days of nationwide protests against racism and police brutality in America

During his news conference, Trump also lauded the latest job figures, which showed the economy gained 2.5 million jobs in May while the national unemployment rate, which had spiked because of the pandemic, unexpectedly fell to 13.3 percent.

But Biden hit the president for his rosy characterization of the jobs report as well, pointing out that unemployment rates among black and Latino people have continued to rise.

“The fact that he did so," Biden said of Trump making remarks about Floyd, "when black unemployment rose, Hispanic unemployment rose, black youth unemployment skyrocketed, tells you everything you need to know about this man and what he really cares about.”

White Americans saw much better numbers than minorities, according to the economic data released Friday. White unemployment dropped nearly two points to 12.4 percent in May, while Hispanic unemployment fell 1.2 percent, from 18.9 to 17.6 percent. Black unemployment ticked up from 16.7 percent in April to 16.8 percent in May. Asian unemployment ticked up half a point from 14.5 percent to 15 percent.

Biden added that he was “disturbed” to “see the president crowing this morning, basically hanging a 'mission accomplished' banner out there when there's so much more work to be done.”

Biden also hit Trump for what he said was a mishandled federal response to the pandemic to begin with — an oversight the former vice president said was largely to blame for the economic free fall in the first place.

"This was not attributable to an act of god, but to a failure of a president."

Biden’s speech to a small group of guests at Delaware State University came as he has in recent days both upped his public appearances to respond to Floyd’s killing and his attacks on Trump. He held a virtual town hall on Thursday night, delivered a speech Wednesday on race and policing, and spoke Tuesday to African American leaders and visited a church in Wilmington, Delaware.