Trump condemns protesters, calls death of George Floyd a ‘tragedy’

Following the launch of two astronauts into space, President Donald Trump delivered remarks in Cape Canaveral, Fla. on Saturday regarding the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests that have sprung up in major U.S. cities across the country.

“The death of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis was a grave tragedy, it should have never happened,” the president said in his speech. “It has filled Americans all over the country with horror, anger and grief.”

The president noted that he had spoken to Floyd’s family on Friday and had expressed “the sorrow of our entire nation for their loss.” 

RELATED: Protests rock United States over George Floyd’s death

“I stand before you as a friend and ally to every American seeking justice and peace, and I stand before you in firm opposition to anyone exploiting this tragedy to loot, rob, attack and menace,” the president said. “Healing, not hatred; justice, not chaos, are the mission at hand.”

Trump dismissed the current protests as having “nothing to do with justice or peace,” stating that Floyd’s memory is being dishonored by “rioters, looters and anarchists.” Trump also assigned blame for the protests to radical left wing groups.

“We cannot and must not allow a small group of criminals to wreck our cities and lay waste to our communities,” the president said before indicating the “overwhelming” support for police officers.

Trump’s comments come just one day after he posted a tweet containing the message, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Earlier in the day, the president tweeted repeatedly about the protests.

The Pentagon said Saturday it was ready to provide military help to authorities scrambling to contain unrest in Minneapolis, where George Floyd's death has sparked widespread protests, but Gov. Tim Walz has not requested federal troops.

Protests have continued into in different parts of the country on Saturday, including Columbus, Ohio; Tallahassee, Fla; and Los Angeles. 

RELATED: Protests rock United States over George Floyd’s death