Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said he is “outraged” by the way President Donald Trump acted – and tweeted – over the previous 24 hours, as rioters burned a Minneapolis Police Department precinct following the death of George Floyd.
Video surfaced this week showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, while he was handcuffed. Floyd later died. The officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Protests and demonstrations have been organized all across the country, including in Minneapolis on Thursday night, where protesters burned a police precinct. In a tweet, Trump threatened action against rioters, writing “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” which prompted a warning from Twitter for “glorifying violence.”
During his daily press briefing Friday, Pritzker said he can’t imagine “the rage and the fear” that black Americans must be feeling.
“His tweets, his reaction, his failure to address the racism that exists in America, his stoking of the flames in sometimes subtle and sometimes not-so-subtle ways is completely unacceptable,” Pritzker said. “It’s reprehensible.”
Pritzker didn't hold back in his criticism of the president.
"I'm pretty blunt about this. He's a racist," Pritzker said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was even more blunt in her assessment.
“I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump,” Lightfoot said. “It’s two words. It begins with ‘f’ and it ends with ‘you.’ I will not remain silent while this man cynically tries to turn this incredibly painful moment into one for his own political gain.”
The President held a press briefing in the White House Rose Garden on Friday, in which he announced the U.S. will terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization. Trump has blamed the WHO and China for the spread of the coronavirus. The U.S. is the largest financial contributor to the WHO.
Trump did not address events in Minnesota and did not take questions from the media.
“It seems as if president Trump is withdrawing us from the rest of the world,” Pritzker said. “We saw what happens to a nation when you withdraw from the rest of the world, what happens in terms of chaos around the world when the United States is not leading. And unfortunately, that’s where President Trump has taken us.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.