Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot did not mince words at a Friday press conference when responding to President Donald Trump’s tweets slamming protesters as “thugs” and saying, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
Lightfoot, the city’s first black female mayor, said she took the video of George Floyd’s death “personally” as a black woman.
“It’s impossible for me as a black woman who has been the target of blatant racism over the course of my life not to take the killing of George Floyd personally. Watching that poor man beg for his life and for the ability to breathe and then watching the life leave him there in the streets I felt angry, I feel sickened, and a range of other emotions all at once,” she said. “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.”
The death of Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody this week after a white officer pinned him to the ground under his knee, sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial discrimination.
Turning to address Trump’s tweets, Lightfoot said Trump’s “goal is to polarize and destabilize local government and to inflame racists’ urges. And we can absolutely not let him prevail.”
“And I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump,” she said. “It’s two words, it begins with ‘f’ and it ends with ‘you.’ ”
Trump’s comments about the protesters drew a backlash, later writing on Twitter that the reference to looting was “spoken as fact, not as a statement.”
The president said later Friday he had called Floyd’s family.
“I understand the hurt. I understand the pain. People have really been through a lot,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “The family of George is entitled to justice and the people of Minnesota are entitled to live in safety.”