Were I his advisor, I would suggest a variation of this speech.
My fellow Americans:
Over the past few days, we have seen the peaceful protests of Americans demanding justice for George Floyd hijacked by an angry mob destroying the very communities already hurting from lockdowns. Those whose arms have been outstretched to offer help have been pushed aside, assaulted, and their businesses burned.
This is unacceptable and I am calling on all governors and mayors to take swift action to protect the private property of Americans. If the government, as part of a basic function, cannot protect the property of its citizens from mobs and violence, the government has failed. Decisive and strong action must be taken.
The government should also protect the lives of its citizens and it did not protect George Floyd’s life. I know something about out of control law enforcement and abuse of power.
For the last four years, I have been hounded by out of control law enforcement officials who presumed the worst about me and made decisions based on those presumptions we now know were bad. They presumed I was a Russian agent and it took a special prosecutor’s investigation to clear my name. But plenty of people’s lives were ruined in the wake of this. My friend Mike Flynn was bullied by federal prosecutors into taking a plea deal or see his own son prosecuted. And now, trying to get out of a bad deal he felt forced to take, a federal judge is blocking him.
We have real problems in our system of justice. I have experienced it myself. Thankfully, no police knelt on my neck. But they did that to George Floyd and he died. His death is unconscionable in the twenty-first century and we should not have needed a video tape to get outraged by it or by what happened to Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. It keeps happening and the bad actors in law enforcement from the FBI to the local police station ruin the reputations of their institutions and the good men and women who put their lives on the line to protect you and me every day.
There is an underlying string that ties them all together. Judges have created something called qualified immunity that gives law enforcement and out of control government bureaucrats too much power to behave badly. Qualified immunity means the bad apples of the bureaucracy can get away with unconscionable things with little consequence.
Today, I ask Congress to review qualified immunity and end it. Cities in this country think they can hide bad cops behind qualified immunity, but all it does is drag down the reputations of the best of our men and women in blue. The good cops are overshadowed by the bad cops and the good cops are left to clean up the messes.
Second, I take criminal justice reform very seriously. While my opponent passed some of the harshest federal criminal laws that have destroyed black lives, I signed criminal justice reform that undid much of the damage. Today, I am forming a federal task force to review federal sentencing guidelines and the criminal code to see what more we can do to right wrongs done by overzealous legislators.
Lastly, my fellow Americans, we have made great strides in this country. We must stop those who would take advantage of the George Floyd tragedy to burn and destroy. We must build and rebuild both lives and property. We must make sure every American can share in the American dream. I am asking Congress to create tax free enterprise zones for the areas hit by these riots and I am also asking Congress to deny unemployment to anyone guilty of property destruction and vandalism.
We need to right the wrong. We need this to be about George Floyd, not rioters. We need to remember that all of us are endowed by our creator with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of the color of any person’s skin.
Our best days are still ahead of us and the only thing that prevents them is by abandoning hope. Let us not do that. God bless you, God bless the memory and family of George Floyd, and God bless America.