President Donald Trump's team is divided on how he should tackle the racial tensions and nationwide protests sparked by a police killing of a black man, particularly since it's an election year and the coronavirus pandemic is still affecting every state.
Politico reported that Trump's top advisers are split on whether he should address the nation from the Oval Office in an effort to spread unity and pledge support to law enforcement or opt against that. Siding with police would be embraced by Trump's supporters, but it could alienate him with independent voters and African Americans, whose support he has been trying to court ahead of the November election.
The aforementioned killing involved a white police officer in Minneapolis killing a handcuffed black man by pressing his knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Politico reported, wants Trump to address the nation and push for law and order to return after several days of violent protests — including outside the White House.
Jared Kushner, a Trump senior adviser and the president's son-in-law, and other aides think a nationwide address would be a political mistake because it could turn voters against him.
Until last week, the Trump administration has been focused on reopening the country's economy after months of shutdowns because of the COVID-19 pandemic — which has killed more than 100,000 Americans and has left 40 million without jobs.
The protests are not only causing chaos across America, but also inside the White House. Trump has thus far responded to them by expressing support for George Floyd, the man killed by police, law enforcement, and the National Guard, while bashing Antifa, the group believed to be behind some of the violent protests. Trump has also been criticizing Democratic mayors and governors for not doing enough to control the situation.
It's not clear what Trump's next move will be, but White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that an Oval Address would not solve the problem.
"A national Oval Office address is not going to stop Antifa. What's going to stop it is action," she said. "He's got several meetings today, and that's his focus — acting and keeping our streets safe."
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