Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden scolded President Trump Friday for invoking George Floyd while touting new jobs numbers.
“He was speaking of a man who was brutally killed by an act of needless violence and by a larger tide of violence that has metastasized on this president’s watch,” Mr. Biden said of Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minnesota.
“George Floyd’s last words, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,’ have echoed all across this nation and quite frankly around the world. For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd, I frankly think, is despicable,” he added.
During a press conference at the White House, Mr. Trump called the new numbers “incredible” and invoked Floyd’s name, saying he would be happy with an economic upturn.
“Hopefully, George is looking down right now in saying this is a great thing happening for our country,” Mr. Trump said. “A great day for him, a great day for everybody.”
The unemployment rate for May dipped to 13.3%, an unexpected decline from 14.7% in April as employers added about 2.5 million jobs. Forecasts had been for as many as 9 million job losses.
Mr. Biden said Mr. Trump doesn’t deserve any credit for the uptick in employment.
“Donald Trump still doesn’t get it,” the former vice president said. “He is out there spiking the ball completely oblivious to the tens of millions of people who are facing the great struggle of their lives.”
“Let’s be clear, a president who takes no responsibility for costing millions and millions of Americans their jobs deserves no credit when a faction of them return,” he said.
Mr. Biden also said that Mr. Trump is clueless when it comes to the struggles of working people.
“He has no idea of the depth of the pain that so many people are enduring,” he said. “He remains completely oblivious to the human toll of his indifference. It is time for him to step out of his own bunker and take a look around at the consequence of his words and his actions.”
National unrest sparked after the deaths of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor have renewed the painful debate of racial tensions and police brutality in the U.S.
Mr. Trump has vowed to “dominate” unruly demonstrations across the country with military force if need be, generating a wave of backlash from Democrats and former Defense Secretary James Mattis and former White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly.
• Seth McLaughlin contributed to this report.