Jul 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump deflects on why Black people are killed by police: "And so are white people"

Asked by CBS News' Catherine Herridge on Tuesday why Black Americans are still dying at the hands of police, President Trump responded: "And so are white people. So are white people. What a terrible question to ask."

Why it matters: A 2018 study found that Black men are about 3.5 times more likely to be killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts.

  • A second study in 2019 found that out of every 1,000 black men in the U.S., one will likely die at the hands of police.
  • Trump claimed that "more white people" are killed by police, but white Americans comprise a larger portion of the population than Black people and other minorities.

The big picture: Trump, who has faced backlash for his response to nationwide protests against the police killing of George Floyd, defended his attacks on the movement to take down Confederate statues and symbols by claiming that it's a "freedom of speech" issue.

What he's saying: "All I say is freedom of speech. It's very simple. My attitude is freedom of speech. Very strong views on the Confederate flag. With me, it's freedom of speech. Very simple. Like it, don't like it, it's freedom of speech."

  • "Well people love it," Trump said in response to whether he knows about the painful history of the Confederate flag. "I know people that like the Confederate flag and they're not thinking about slavery. I look at NASCAR — you go to NASCAR, you had those flags all over the place. They stopped it."
  • Asked how he would feel about supporters displaying the Confederate flag at campaign events, Trump responded: "You know, it depends on what your definition is. But I am comfortable with freedom of speech. It's very simple."
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