- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 31, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said she is “not paying too much attention” to what President Trump tweets about nationwide protests, saying she’s worried about “the knee on the neck” and questions of justice.

“I kind of ignore what President Trump says,” the California Democrat told ABC’S “This Week.”

Prodded by the network, she said Mr. Trump does have a responsibility, like any president, to “unify the country and not to fuel the flames.”

However, she added, “I think to take his bait, time and time again, is just a gift to him.”

Mr. Trump is facing heat for tweeting about vicious dogs and weaponry after protests erupted outside the White House amid nationwide unrest over the death of George Floyd, a black man, after a white officer knelt on his neck during an arrest.

State and local officials on Sunday gave the president poor marks for his tweets.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican confronted with 2015 riots over the Baltimore arrest and death of Freddie Gray, said leaders are supposed to dial down the temperature instead of increasing it.

“It’s sort of continuing to escalate the rhetoric, and I think it’s just sort of the opposite of the message that should have been coming out of the White House,” Mr. Hogan told CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, was more blunt.
“This is like Charlottesville all over again. He speaks and he makes it worse. There are times when you should just be quiet. And I wish that he would just be quiet,” she told CNN.

Mrs. Pelosi said when controversy erupts, the president wants to divert attention from underlying issues.

She said the focus should be on how to resolve the issues presented in the viral video of Mr. Floyd’s death.

“We saw it happen. A knee to the neck,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “Let’s hope that justice would be done.”

Federal, state and local officials are grappling with their praise for the protests and the violence that’s erupted from them, including looting and fires.

“When you have a crowd, you will have those who will disrupt, and that is most unfortunate,” Mrs. Pelosi said.

She reiterated Minnesota officials’ assertion that many people are from out of state, though other reports say many of the arrested persons are Minnesotans.

The White House has blamed “radical leftist militants” in the antifa group, while liberal voices have pointed to white-nationalist intervenors.

“Let’s have a look at what really is happening, who is taking what actions,” Mrs. Pelosi said. “We should not ignore the fact there is a room for peaceful protest in all this.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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