Trump was ‘very upset’ after watching George Floyd video, McEnany says
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany responds to reporter questions at briefing.
It was “egregious, appalling and tragic,” McEnany continued. “He wants justice to be served.” She said that the video prompted Trump to “pick up the phone” while aboard Air Force One and ask the FBI to expedite its investigation.
The press secretary added that at the time of her briefing the president was being briefed on the situation by Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Floyd, 46, was pronounced dead Monday night after he was pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin, along with three other police officers involved in the incident, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, were fired from the force Tuesday, hours after a bystander’s video showed Chauvin kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck, even after he pleaded that he could not breathe and stopped moving.
Trump announced Wednesday night that he had ordered the FBI and the DOJ to investigate the killing, calling it a “very sad and tragic death.”
Both the FBI and state law enforcement authorities are currently investigating the case. It immediately drew comparisons to the case of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died in 2014 in New York City after he was placed in a chokehold by police and pleaded for his life, saying he could not breathe.
The Floyd video, which sparked outrage after it was posted online, starts with the man on the ground, and does not show what happened in the moments prior. The unidentified officer is kneeling on his neck, ignoring his pleas. “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man,” said Floyd, who has his face against the pavement.
Floyd also moans. One of the officers tells him to “relax.” The man calls for his mother and says: “My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, everything hurts ... I can't breathe.” As bystanders shout their concern, one officer says, “He's talking, so he's breathing.”
But Floyd stops talking and slowly becomes motionless under the officer's restraint. The officer does not remove his knee until the man is loaded onto a gurney by paramedics.
As lawmakers, celebrities and athletes alike demanded justice, protests erupted across the state of Minnesota.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo acknowledged his department contributed to a so-called “deficit of hope” but said that he could not allow others to compound that trauma with looting, robbing and torching buildings in the name of the First Amendment.
“I know that there is currently a deficit of hope in this city and I know as I wear this uniform before you, this department has contributed to that deficit of hope, but I will not allow to continue to increase that deficit by re-traumatizing those folks in our community.”
Minneapolis has faced two nights of violent protests which even turned deadly — at least five people were struck by gunfire from Wednesday night into early Thursday morning.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on Wednesday demanded the arrest of the police officer who had his knee on Floyd’s neck.
"I've wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?" Frey asked during a news conference. "If you had done it, or I had done it, we would be behind bars right now."
Fox News' Andrew O'Reilly, Barnini Chakraborti and Lucia Suarez contributed to this report.