In a sea of less-than-tasteful reactions to news that a jury had found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd while the 46-year-old Black man was in his custody, remarks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) garnered arguably the most attention.
In fact, Pelosi’s comments were so out of touch that they prompted a strong rebuke from Black Lives Matter’s official Twitter account, which called the speaker’s remarks downright “disrespectful,” Breitbart reported.
Pelosi’s big blunder
Almost immediately after Chauvin was found guilty on all counts, Speaker Pelosi joined members of the Congressional Black Caucus outside the U.S. Capitol building for a press conference.
“So, again, thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice,” Pelosi said in her speech, lifting her face toward the heavens. “For being there to call out to your mom. How heartbreaking was that? To call out to your mom, ‘I can’t breathe.’”
The speaker went on: “But because of you [Floyd] — and because of thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice — your name will always be synonymous with justice. And now we have to make sure justice prevails in the sentencing.”
“Floyd didn’t choose to die”
Black Lives Matter shared a clip of Pelosi’s remarks alongside a sharp condemnation of the message put forth by the Democratic leader.
“This is so damn disrespectful,” the activist group wrote. “George Floyd didn’t choose to die [Pelosi]. He was murdered by a killer cop operating through white supremacy. There isn’t justice here.”
— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) April 21, 2021
The Washington Post reports that the backlash to Pelosi’s comments was as swift as it was fierce, and it predominately came from the left. Critics’ primary complaint echoed a sentiment expressed by BLM: that Floyd most certainly did not “sacrifice” his life on behalf of social justice.
Critics also reportedly decried Pelosi’s comments as “awful,” tone-deaf,” and “totally inappropriate,” and said she should apologize.
Speaker Pelosi has yet to do so, though she put out a tweet later in an apparent attempt to save face.
George Floyd should be alive today. His family’s calls for justice for his murder were heard around the world. He did not die in vain. We must make sure other families don’t suffer the same racism, violence & pain, and we must enact the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act. https://t.co/tWln9NRg1g
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) April 20, 2021