After a video showing police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes, residents in cities all over the country took to the streets to protest police brutality. In some cities, the peaceful protests quickly escalated into violent riots.
Addressing the riots, FLOTUS Melania Trump tweeted: “Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence. I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let's focus on peace, prayers & healing.”
Melania’s tweet triggered a storm of critical comments, with many calling her and her husband out for their past responses to peaceful protests against police brutality, especially targeting African American citizens.
One comment read: “‘I can't wait to hear what Melania Trump has to say about this,’ said no voter ANYWHERE, about ANYTHING. The woman who mocked kids in cages with her ‘I Really Don't Care. Do U?’ jacket has no say in this matter, as far as I am concerned.”
The comment referred to Melania’s $39 jacket which she wore in 2018 to a child migrant detention center.
She later told NBC: "It's obvious I didn't wear the jacket for the children, I wore the jacket to go on the plane and off the plane. It was for the people and for the left-wing media who are criticizing me. I want to show them I don't care. You could criticize whatever you want to say. But it will not stop me to do what I feel is right."
Another person responded with a picture of Colin Kaepernick, writing: “Your husband didn’t want peaceful protests either.”
Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem when he played for the San Francisco 49ers.
Kaepernick explained his protest: "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." He was referring to a series of fatal deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement.
In 2017, Trump mocked the players taking a knee at the NFL games. In an event in Alabama, he stated: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired.’ That's a total disrespect of our heritage. That's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for."
Another person commented: “You have a lot of explaining to do, FLOUTUS (sic),” and added speech bubbles of statements previously made by Trump.
One read, "I'd like to punch him in the face,” repeating Trump’s remarks after a protestor was escorted out of his rally in 2016 on the eve of the Nevada caucus.
Another bubble referred to a statement made by Trump in a 2015 rally about a Black Lives Matter activist: "Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”