Former President George W. Bush is speaking out about the protests — both peaceful and violent — that have broken out across the U.S. over the past week as demonstrators are demanding justice for George Floyd.
Floyd died while in Minneapolis police custody after he had his neck pinned down by an officer’s knee for eight minutes and forty six seconds. Protestors have taken to several cities across the country over racial inequality.
In responding to the death of Floyd, Bush called on the country to unify.
In a statement, Bush wrote that he and former First Lady Laura Bush “are anguished by the brutal suffocation of George Floyd and disturbed by the injustice and fear that suffocate our country.”
He continued, “Yet we have resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen.”
“It is time for America to examine our tragic failures — and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths.”
“How do we end systematic racism in our society?” the former president asked, adding, “The only way to see ourselves in a true light is to listen to the voices of so many who are hurting and grieving. Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America — or how it becomes a better place.”
“We know that lasting justice will come only by peaceful means. Looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress. But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice. […] This will require a consistent, courageous, and creative effort.”
“We serve our neighbors best when we try to understand their experience,” he wrote in his conclusion, adding, “I am confident that together, Americans will choose the better way.”
See Bush’s full statement below:
Statement from Pres. George W. Bush: pic.twitter.com/wcvpBJzTCf— Phil Mattingly (@Phil_Mattingly) June 2, 2020
George W. Bush is not the only former president who has posted a statement on the death of Floyd.
Former President Barack Obama previously wrote on Floyd’s death, “This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better,” as IJR reported.
Obama also called for peaceful protests while denouncing violent protests, as he wrote in a Medium post, “Let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it.”
“So the bottom line is this: if we want to bring about real change, then the choice isn’t between protest and politics,” he wrote. “We have to do both. We have to mobilize to raise awareness, and we have to organize and cast our ballots to make sure that we elect candidates who will act on reform.”
Additionally, President Donald Trump on Monday evening said in the Rose Garden, “All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd.”
“My administration is fully committed that for George and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain,” the president added.