How to Act Like a President, or Not

First, the bare facts: Shortly before noon today fired police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested in Minneapolis by agents of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. The Hennepin County Attorney said he anticipates charges against the other officers involved in Floyd’s death.

An attorney for Floyd’s family is calling for a first-degree murder charge. So am I, especially after we learned that Derek Chauvin and George Floyd very likely knew each other.

Here is a statement from our last real President on the death of George Floyd.

Last night, Democratic presidential nominee presumptive Joe Biden also spoke about George Floyd.

“We can’t ignore that we are in a country with an open wound right now — a wound far older and deeper than…George Floyd’s killing — and his brutal, brutal death captured on film. His final words, pleading for breathe. ‘Let me breathe, I can’t breathe.’ It’s ripped open anew this—this ugly underbelly of our society,” Biden said during a virtual campaign fundraiser on Thursday. …

… “People all across this country are enraged and rightly so,” Biden said on Thursday evening and added, “Every day African-Americans go about their lives with [the] constant anxiety and trauma of wondering ‘Will I be next?’ Sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s not. These tragedies, these injustices cut at the very heart of our most sacred of beliefs — that all Americans, equal in rights and in dignity, are part of an ingrained systemic cycle of racism and oppression that throughout every part of our society.”

“If we’re not committed as a nation, with every ounce of purpose in our beings — not just to binding up this wound in hope that somehow the scab once again will cover things over — but to treat the underlying injury, we’re never going to eventually heal,” Biden said.


Biden released more remarks today, in which he revealed he had spoken to George Floyd’s family.

There is a transcript of Biden’s remarks here.

So, the previous POTUS and, we hope, the next POTUS did the job a POTUS is supposed to do to address the nation’s pain. And what did our current so-called POTUS do? He was tweeting stuff like this …

Of course. What more did you expect?

Twitter: Nyah, nyah, nyah. A warning label was added to the tweet.


Twitter officials appended Mr. Trump’s “shooting starts” tweet with a note saying the remark was “glorifying violence.” That provoked another tweet from the president accusing Twitter of having targeted “Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States” and prompting his aides to repost his original tweets on the official White House Twitter account. It was also flagged by Twitter.

Trump was thoroughly slammed for the “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” line, which has been traced back to George Wallace ca. 1967. So Trump tweeted this today:

Yeah, MAGA heads, tell us all about how Trump means what he says. I’m waiting.

Desperate to change the subject, Trump announced the U.S. would be terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization because of Trump’s petty grievances and personal failures. Yes, I added that last part.

However, it’s not clear that the POTUS can order a withdrawal from WHO without permission from Congress, any more than he can change liability law with an executive order. Maybe we need a law that requires presidential candidates to pass a Constitution test.

More Stuff to Read:

Christianity Today, George Floyd Left a Gospel Legacy in Houston

Paul Krugman, On the Economics of Not Dying

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People.