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Trump and Aides Try to Change the Narrative of the White House Protests

  • June 04, 2020

“The church was badly hurt,” Mr. Trump said, a sentiment that he repeated on Twitter in sharing a post that quoted Senator Ted Cruz falsely claiming that the church “was firebombed by terrorists.”

The president added that “Democrat and superliberal mayors” were to blame for failing to confront violence and looting touched off by the death of Mr. Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis whose neck was pinned under the knee of a white police officer.

He had less to say on police brutality and racism, two underlying problems protesters say they are trying to address through their demonstrations. When Mr. Spicer asked Mr. Trump to address the issues of police reform and systemic racism, the president instead asked why Joseph R. Biden Jr., his Democratic challenger, had not solved the problems during his career in politics.

“Why didn’t he do something about it?” Mr. Trump said. “I’ve only been here for three and a half years.”

Mr. Trump was given another chance to address the deaths of black people in police custody during an interview earlier Wednesday with Brian Kilmeade of Fox News Radio. He again blamed Mr. Biden and said law enforcement officers “have to get better than what they’ve been doing.”

In that interview, Mr. Trump initially denied, and then acknowledged, that he had gone to a secure bunker as protesters demonstrated nearby. But the president said he went there for an “inspection,” not because of concerns over his safety.

“Well, it was a false report,” Mr. Trump told Mr. Kilmeade, who had asked if he had been brought to the bunker along with his family as was reported by The New York Times and other news media organizations.

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