Fact Check

Did Trump Say 'This Is a Great Day' for George Floyd?

The president's comments came during a press conference about employment statistics on June 5, 2020.

Published June 5, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 05: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House June 05, 2020 in Washington, DC. In the midst of nationwide protests against the death of George Floyd, the U.S. Labor Department announced the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent in May, a surprising improvement in the nation’s job market as hiring rebounded faster than economists expected in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
On June 5, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump stated during a talk about employment numbers that it was a "great day" for George Floyd, a black man who was killed May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.

In late May 2020, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him down and kneeled on his neck. Protests against police brutality — some violent — spread swiftly across the U.S. and other countries, and numerous cities were placed under curfew.

Less than two weeks later, some Snopes readers questioned whether U.S. President Donald Trump had truly stated in a speech about employment statistics that it was a "great day" for Floyd, suggesting that Floyd was "looking down and saying, 'This is a great thing that's happening for our country.'"

Trump did make these comments, drawing immediate backlash.

Floyd died in police custody on May 25. Video of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck until he lost consciousness went viral and sparked international outrage.

Trump's commentary came during an event at the White House Rose Garden in which he discussed U.S. job numbers in the month of May. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, stay-at-home orders have resulted in massive unemployment. He appeared to veer off prepared remarks, stating:

Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement regardless of race, color, gender or creed. They have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement. They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can't let that happen. Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying, "This is a great thing that's happening for our country." It's a great day for him, it's a great day for everyone. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality. It's really what our Constitution requires and it's what our country is all about.

Those remarks can be seen in the following video clip:

Trump has been criticized for using inflammatory rhetoric that escalated a growing crisis in Minneapolis, while an outpouring of public anger, protests, and riots consumed that city in the immediate aftermath of Floyd's death. The official White House Twitter account posted a tweet that threatened "when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!" Twitter hid the tweet for violating platform rules against glorifying violence. Trump has also been criticized for his threats to send in the U.S. military against protesters.

Because Trump did indeed make the comment about Floyd in question, we rate this claim "Correct attribution."


Global News. "Trump Hopes George Floyd Is 'Looking Down' Saying 'This Is a Great Thing Happening for Our Country!'"   YouTube. 5 June 2020.

Ryan, Missy and Paul Sonne. "As Protests Spread, Tensions Escalated Over Trump’s Reach for Military in Response."   Washington Post. 4 June 2020.

Haberman, Maggie and Alexander Burns. "Trump’s Looting and ‘Shooting’ Remarks Escalate Crisis in Minneapolis."   The New York Times. 29 May 2020.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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