Considering Donald Trump is not known for being a reader, it’s probably not a surprise that he can be bad at reading a room.
That’s what happened Wednesday when a reporter asked him for his reaction to the decision by a grand jury in Louisville, Kentucky, to not charge the police officers who fatally shot Breonna Taylor in her death.
There are many things a president could have said, such as a statement calling for peace while the process continues or an expression of sympathy to Taylor’s family.
But Trump used the question as an opportunity to praise himself:
“My message is that I love the Black community, and I’ve done more for the Black community than any other president, and I say, with a possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, and I mean that, with opportunity zones and with criminal justice reform, with prison reform, with what we’ve done for historically Black universities, colleges, schools, what we’ve done, nobody’s done more. Abraham Lincoln, let’s give him the nod, but beyond that nobody’s done more.”
Then he indicated he hadn’t yet seen the grand jury’s decision. “I heard a decision was just made,” he said, and added he’d comment on it later.
The quote wasn’t even unique to the situation. It’s something he frequently says to avoid answering questions about racial justice in America.
You can hear Trump attempt to soothe his fragile ego starting just after the 22-minute mark.
Trump did give a less self-serving of an answer to another reporter a little later.
Instead of praising himself, he praised Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron as “a star” for the way he handled the decision and said he’d be speaking with the Kentucky governor shortly.
That segment appears near the 25-minute of the video below.
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician in Louisville, was killed March 13 when three white plainclothes police officers serving a “no-knock” warrant broke into her apartment and met with gunfire from Taylor’s boyfriend, who was injured. The subject of the warrant was not at the address. Taylor, who had been in bed when officers entered her home, was shot multiple times.
Taylor’s family settled a $12 million wrongful death suit against the city on Sept. 15 that included a promise of police reforms.
One of the three officers, Brett Hankison, was fired. He was indicted Wednesday on a charge related to the endangerment of people in an adjoining apartment.