Donald Trump addressed the violence in Charlotte, North Carolina, during a speech on Thursday, saying America “desperately needs unity” to fix the country.
At least nine civilians were injured and 44 were arrested during Wednesday night’s riots in Charlotte following the fatal police shooting of 43-year-old Keith Scott. Charlotte remains under a state of emergency, and the National Guard has been brought in to assist the police department in handling the protests and protecting infrastructure.
“Our country desperately needs unity, and it needs the spirit of togetherness that has not only got us through our toughest times — but which has lifted us up, in the past, to our greatest achievements as a nation,” Trump said.
“Every day, I see people of different backgrounds working together for a common good, and we need to bring that spirit to every part of our country — and become one American nation, united by our shared values and principles as American citizens.”
The message of unity and people from different backgrounds coming together is somewhat foreign for a presidential nominee who is often criticised over what some see as divisive rhetoric, particularly against immigrants.
More familiar were his statements on the country being broken, and other countries taking notice.
“We all have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, see things through their eyes, and then get to work fixing our wounded country,” Trump said. “Many Americans are watching the unrest in Charlotte unfolding on their TV screens. Others are witnessing the chaos and the violence firsthand.”
He continued: “Our country looks bad to the world, especially when we are supposed to be the leader. How can we lead when we can’t even control our own cities?”
Trump also criticised violent protesters and said that “law-abiding African-American residents who live in these communities” would suffer the most from riots.
“It is their jobs, housing markets, schools and economic conditions that will suffer — and the first duty of government is to protect their well-being and safety,” Trump said. “There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump administration.”
He continued: “Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the violent disrupter, but to make life more comfortable for the African-American parent trying to raise their kids in peace.”
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