It’s no wonder so few Americans trust the media. Myriad news outlets and pool reporters jumped at the opportunity Friday morning to awfully misconstrue comments President Donald Trump made in the Rose Garden about the late George Floyd, a black man who was killed last week by disgraced former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white.
During a press conference largely focused on the improving jobs report, the president changed the subject at one point to talk about Mr. Floyd as well as the protests breaking out all across the country as politicians on both sides of the aisle call for reforms amid cries of racial injustice.
Seemingly beginning with a tweet from CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins, journalists posted misleading tweets and articles, suggesting Trump said Mr. Floyd is “looking down from heaven” in appreciation of the May jobs report, calling it “a great day for him.”
Here’s a list of some of the outlets and reporters who shared Collins’ perspective:
That characterization, though, is blatantly misleading.
So what did Trump really say?
Here’s a transcript of the president’s comments:
Equal justice under the law must mean every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, color, gender or creed. They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it!
We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen. Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, ‘This is a great thing that’s happening for our country.’ This is a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This a great, great day in terms of equality.
It’s really what our Constitution requires and it’s what our government is all about.
Here’s a video of Trump’s remarks:
So far, there have not been any notable retractions. Instead, outlets and reporters are just sticking with the misleading characterization of Trump’s words.
Business Insider, for example, published an article with the following (very long) headline: “Trump suggests George Floyd is ‘looking down’ from heaven and appreciating ‘the great day in terms of equality’ after unexpectedly strong jobs report was announced.” Early in the article, though, the writer claimed it’s “unclear” if Trump was referring to the “good employment news announced Friday morning or the U.S.’s response to widespread protests.”
The truth is it’s very clear what Trump was saying.