In a Fox News interview that aired Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump claimed many people protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s murder “just didn’t know” why they were there.
Trump made the comments in response to a question from Fox News’ Harris Faulkner about what the president thinks the protesters want — or need — from him.
“You had protesters for different reasons & then you had protesting also because, you know, they just didn’t know… a lot of them really were there b/c they were following the crowd” — Trump suggests many George Floyd protesters weren’t even aware of what they were protesting pic.twitter.com/KnbTJy2U8m— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 12, 2020
“So I think you had protesters for different reasons, and then you had protesting also because they just didn’t know,” Trump said. “I’ve watched. I watched it very closely. ‘Why are you here?’ And they really weren’t able to say. But they were there — for a reason perhaps. But a lot of them really were there because they’re following the crowd. A lot of them were there because what we witnessed was a terrible thing. What we saw was a terrible thing, and we’ve seen it over the years. You know, this was one horrible example. but you’ve seen other terrible examples. You know that better than anybody would know it. And I know it. I’ve seen it to. I’ve seen it before I was president and during the presidency I’ve seen it.”
Earlier in the interview, Trump characterized the protests as “riots” and “unnecessary.”
Trump also defended both police chokeholds and his use of the saying, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts” — falsely attributing it to “very strong mayor” Frank Rizzo of Philadelphia, who once campaigned on the slogan “Vote White.”
Trump insisted his upcoming campaign rally wasn’t scheduled for Juneteenth “on purpose,” and he claimed he’s done more for the black community than any president, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln.
Watch more of the interview below.