Donald Trump says no progress will be made 'if we label decent Americans racist'

12 June 2020, 08:37

Mr Trump says no progress will be made by 'falsely labelling' millions of people as racists or bigots
Mr Trump says no progress will be made by 'falsely labelling' millions of people as racists or bigots. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Donald Trump has warned progress will not be made if "tens of millions of decent Americans" are called racists or bigots as protests continue in the wake of George Floyd's death.

The US president told a roundtable discussion in Texas that Americans were "good and virtuous people" and that police officers who use excessive force are "bad apples".

He added: "We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear, but we will make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labelling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots."

The comments come amid weeks of ongoing protests across the US against systemic racism after an unarmed Mr Floyd - a black man - died at the hands of white police officer Derek Chauvin.

During the roundtable discussion, Mr Trump was sympathetic with officers who had been targeted on duty, but did not address police violence on the black population.

Despite this, he did suggest he would pursue a national use-of-force standard, which could serve as hope for campaigners against police brutality.

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Hours earlier, America's top military officer Army General Mark Milley said he regretted a now infamous walk with the US president through Lafayette Square in Washington DC at the start of the month that saw protesters blocking the way dispersed with pepper spray and flash bangs.

It ended with Mr Trump posing for a photo opportunity with a bible outside a church.

General Milley said the presence had "created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics," adding: "I should not have been there."