Student Opinion: President Trump’s Handling of Riots: Weak and Divisive


President Donald J. Trump addresses the nation on June 1 in response to nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

By Luke Kaplan, National News Editor

When the country needed a leader to unify them most, the White House quite literally went dark. 

On May 31, while crowds of people were being pushed in the D.C. streets by the police, their supposed fearless leader was silent, locked in an underground bunker beneath the White House.

While protecting the most important man in America from angry crowds is understandable, when the lights went off in the White House, the message was abundantly clear that we were on our own. 

His words of encouragement? “FAKE NEWS” via his Twitter account; as if by denouncing the media would diminish the firsthand reporting of scenes of police brutality in countless major American cities.

A week after the wrongful death of George Floyd, protests and riots across the country are still as passionate as ever. However, the President’s slow response to this nationwide cry for help has been unsurprisingly lackluster.

On June 1st, President Trump finally addressed his divided nation from the Rose Garden. Rather than unifying the nation and justifying the protestors’ cause, he transparently pitted one side against the other. He chose only to address protestors assaulting policemen and not the other way around. 

Any good leader should use compromise and unification as their guiding principles when solving a problem. Rather, his unsympathetic and harsh rhetoric towards angry protestors, or as he calls them “domestic terrorists” only further stoke this flame of rebellion.

To make matters worse, immediately following his speech, Trump took off on foot to “pay [his] respects” to the White House’s community church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been burned during a riot the night prior. The press followed him to this sacred and historical place, where presidents as far back as Abraham Lincoln would come to pray.

He parted the sea of peaceful protestors with tear gas and the brute force of the police in order to get a photo op in front of this church. He held the Bible up like a toy and posed as if he was doing a magazine photoshoot. Even when the country is in its most vulnerable state, the President’s chief concern is to please religious voters and win re-election in 2020.

While his supporters view this clear political move as “BALLER” (as Trump himself retweeted), I cannot help but feel disgusted and shocked at his inhumanity. He is willing to harm his own people in order to earn cheap political points and that angers me more than anything else he has ever done.

Stay educated because the Black Lives Matter movement is not going away any time soon. And this issue will not be resolved for a long time, especially with the weak and opportunistic leadership that we have now. 

Editor’s Note:  The opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the writer.  Have an opinion of your own on President Trump’s handling of the situation?  Comment below.