More than ever, it’s imperative that people, and white people in particular, speak up against police brutality and the senseless violence that kills Black men like George Floyd. On May 25, 2020, Floyd died after officer Derek Chauvi put his knee on his neck for more than 8 minutes, due to the fact that Floyd allegedly tried to use a forged $20 bill. While people are reacting to the news in various ways, late-night host Jimmy Kimmel used his monologue to slam President Donald Trump’s reaction to the ensuing protests in Minneapolis and in other major cities throughout the country.
Early on May 29, 2020 around 1 a.m., just after the protests had turned into riots and looting in Minneapolis, President Trump went on Twitter to send a warning to Americans. He tweeted, “….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”
So many people reported the tweet that Twitter flagged it for violating the site’s rules and “glorifying violence,” though it remains visible for people to click on because of its newsworthiness. Trump’s tweet threatened protestors with actual violence, making the protests (and the police) all the more wrought. As a result, Kimmel decided to use his platform to call the president out for his irresponsible word choice.
Jimmy Kimmel slammed Trump's tweet for 'intentionally [inflaming] violence'
Jimmy Kimmel knows how to give a good monologue and he did not disappoint when he took President Trump, and people who voted for him, to task on his Friday, May 29, 2020 show. Kimmel said, via Entertainment Weekly, “Is this who you want leading us? A president who clearly and intentionally inflames violence in the middle of a riot to show how tough he is? A commander-in-chief who threatens to put members of our military… in the position of having to shoot a fellow American on sight?” He added, “Enough is enough. We gotta vote this guy out already.”
Before then, Kimmel also broke down the cycle that the country gets stuck in every time another Black person is shot by the police, saying that it always just devolves into an argument about why looting and protests are just as bad as police brutality — which, for the record, they are not.
The TV host added that there is a “blatant double standard in the U.S.,” given that white people don’t have to think about the fact that they might die at the hands of a police officer. “When you stand in front of the flag, you put your hand on your heart, you pledge allegiance ‘with liberty and justice for all.’ We don’t have that for all. I have it, a lot of you have it, but it’s not for all.” Kimmel pleaded with older people to wake up.
Jimmy Kimmel is really no fan of President Trump, but the issue goes beyond that
Jimmy Kimmel called out President Donald Trump’s tweet, but he also didn’t want to draw attention away from the real issues at hand. He added, “I don’t want to make this about Donald Trump, because this sense of hopelessness and frustration that Black people in this country have been experiencing has been brewing for a long time. This is not on the government. It’s on us.”
He ended his monologue with a video by actor Tyler Merritt called “Before You The Call The Cops.” In the video, Merritt looks directly into the camera and lists off things to introduce himself — he thinks bananas are disgusting, likes basketball and hockey, and loves his mom and dad. It’s a shame it had to be made, but the point is crystal clear — assumptions are usually wrong, and when you make them about a Black person and call the cops, you’re literally risking their lives.
Trump probably doesn’t watch Kimmel’s show, and even if he did, he doesn’t seem to be backing down from his threats toward protestors. He spent most of the weekend politicizing the death of George Floyd. Sadly, instead of using this time as an opportunity to work toward justice, Trump seems to be using the National Guard to instigate more violence at protests and take jabs at political rivals. Hopefully, someone in leadership starts to send messages that unify the country soon. Maybe even Kimmel?
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