Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Tuesday that black Americans “could be” subject to mistreatment by some police officers but that President Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement is deepening racial divisions.
Mr. Trump said he was disgusted video he saw of separate police shootings last week in Louisiana and Minnesota that killed black men.
“I thought they were terrible. I thought it was a terrible, disgusting performance that I saw,” the billionaire businessman said Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.”
He also lamented the sniper attack that killed five Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
“It’s a very very sad situation and hopefully it can be healed,” he said. “We have a divider as a president. He’s the great divider and I’ve said it for a long time.”
Pressed by host Bill O’Reilly on whether the police shootings were part a systemic problem with racism, Mr. Trump said: “It could be.”
Asked if he he believed police treated blacks differently, Mr. Trump said: “It could be.”
“What I’m saying is they are not necessarily wrong. There are certain people where unfortunately that comes into play,” he said, adding that more training could address some problems.
Mr. Trump’s comments capped a day in which Mr. Obama delivered remarks at a memorial service in Dallas for the fallen officers, where he defended Black Lives Matter for drawing attention to police abuses.
Before he was killed, the Dallas sniper cited Black Lives Matter and said that he wanted to kill white people and especially white police.
Mr. Trump stressed his support for police officers.
“I have to say, I think 99.9 percent of the police do an incredible job in the country,” said Mr. Trump. “I’m a big fan of the police of this country.”
Mr. Trump said that he couldn’t truly understand the black American experience because he is not a black American. But he said he would help black Americans and all Americans if elected president.
He said stopping wage stagnation, bringing back jobs and fixing the country’s dysfunctional schools would go a long way toward improving the lives of black Americans.
He also said that Black Lives Matter, which has been leading protests in cities across the country, was increasing racial tensions. He said the group’s name was “a very, very, very divisive term.”
“I would say they are dividing America. I saw what they said about the police at various marches and rallies, you know, moments of silence called for this horrible human being who shot the policemen,” said Mr. Trump. “I’ve seen it and certainly it is very divisive. They are hurting themselves.”