Did Donald Trump Really Have This Reaction To The Killing Of George Floyd?

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While president, Donald Trump won over his conservative fans with his stance on crime. Calling himself "the 'law and order' president," Trump frequently blamed Democrats for the rise in urban crime, and suggested that undocumented immigrants played a large part in the spike (via NPR). 

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He also opposed calls to "defund the police," declaring, "I want great and paid LAW ENFORCEMENT," per The Hill, and Trump even famously told a gathering of Long Island police officers not to be "too nice" to suspects, ABC News reported.

Although, Trump has also acknowledged that the police can sometimes overstep their bounds when dealing with non-violent suspects. So says former attorney general Bill Barr, who served both under Trump and under George H.W. Bush. In his newly dropped book, "One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General," Barr says the former president's stance on law enforcement was unfairly portrayed in the media. "[Y]ou might assume he would automatically side with the police and callously disregard the possibility of excessive force. That wasn't his reaction," Barr writes (via The Daily Mail).

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To back up his claims, Barr cites two high-profile deaths in police custody that left Trump shaken.

Bill Barr says Donald Trump opposed police brutality

In 2020, the death of George Floyd in police custody made headlines and horrified millions. Floyd, a Black man arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a Minneapolis store, was killed when police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes, per NBC News. Even then-president Donald Trump, who prided himself on being tough on crime, was appalled. Former attorney general Bill Barr writes in his memoir (via The Daily Mail) that he got a call from Trump after the news of Floyd's death went public. He recalls that Trump said, "What the hell were those guys thinking?" and added that he couldn't watch the entire "horrible" tape of the incident. The president would later go on to call Floyd's death "very sad and tragic."

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Barr says Trump was also distressed to learn about the case of Eric Garner, another Black man killed during an arrest for a nonviolent crime in New York City. He reportedly was surprised to learn that the officers who ignored Garner's cries of "I can't breathe" wouldn't face federal charges. "I grew up in Queens. I know some cops can be bullies," Trump apparently said. "Were these cops looking for a fight with this guy just for selling cigarettes?"

Barr's memoir is hardly a love letter to the former president, though, and includes some harsh words about Trump's claims of election fraud. 

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