Trevor Noah, comedian and host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” defended President Barack Obama this week against people who blame him for the recent Dallas shooting that left five police officers dead.
Several conservatives argued after the shooting that “misinformation” and anti-cop beliefs were being “illuminated” by Obama. A Republican congressman said Obama had reaped “what he has sowed” with the police killings.
Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) even tweeted that Obama and Black Lives Matter protesters should “watch out” because “real America” was coming for them after the shooting. (That tweet has since been deleted.)
Noah told The Huffington Post Thursday that he thinks Obama’s critics would rather have the president ignore the problems of police brutality and racial discrimination in our criminal justice system.
“You have a very dangerous and, I would say, uninformed position in America where there are many people who believe that the way to deal with a problem is to not speak about it,” Noah said. “There are people who would say President Obama is inciting violence because he is speaking about these issues, but that is not how issues go away ― you don’t stop speaking about them.”
Obama said the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two black men who were fatally shot by police in separate incidents within the same week, were symptomatic of “a broader set of disparities that exist in our criminal justice system.” At the same time, Obama noted, police have a “dangerous job” and have to make “split-second decisions.”
“To be concerned about these issues is not to be against law enforcement,” Obama said.
Noah made a similar argument on his show the night of the Dallas shooting, arguing that it’s possible to be both “pro-cop and pro-black.”
“You know the hardest part of having a conversation surrounding police shootings in America?” Noah said on his show. “It always feels like in America, it’s like, if you take a stand for something, you automatically are against something else. It’s such a strange world to be in.”
Noah told HuffPost the issue of police brutality itself hasn’t changed, citing the Rodney King riots and other instances from past decades, but argued that the conversation has evolved thanks to cell phones and social media.
“It is much harder to deny what you are seeing, and yet still people try and find ways to justify the deaths of unarmed citizens or people that could have [been] unarmed and the situation de-escalated,” Noah told HuffPost.
Noah argued that people who blame Obama for the violence are just angry he’s addressing a longstanding problem in America.
“What you are in essence accusing him of is not glossing over these divisions and playing the game of wearing rosy-colored glasses to act like the thing is not happening,” Noah said, “when in fact, it is.”
CORRECTION: This article previously misstated that Noah made his "pro-black and pro-cop" remark after the shooting in Dallas; in fact that segment aired on the night of the shooting.