As protests raged nationwide in response to another death of an unarmed black man detained by police, Jimmy Kimmel decried the “blatant double standard” of experiences with police, liberty and justice in America.
At the top of his latest episode shot from home, the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host acknowledged that it had been another “bad week in the United States of America,” between the death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, the protests in Minneapolis and nationwide that ensued, and President Donald Trump’s subsequent threat to engage the U.S. military and meet violence with violence.
Kimmel noted that, after the death of Floyd, who bystander video showed went unresponsive after a policemen kneeled on his neck for eight minutes, protesters in Minnesota started fires, threw rocks and looted stores. “Unfortunately, this is the loop we get stuck in: It goes from ‘It isn’t right to kill an unarmed man’ to ‘It also isn’t right to loot and set fires and attack the police, too,'” he said of the ensuing rhetoric around the protests. “Last night there were senseless acts of violence that were brought on by a senseless act of violence. And it just keeps going in a loop.”
Kimmel then turned to Trump’s response to the protests. In a tweet early Friday morning, Trump wrote, “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” The response prompted Twitter to place a public notice on the message saying it “violated the Twitter rules about glorifying violence.”
Kimmel said of the president’s threat, “I especially want to pose this question to older people who have seen this before in this country, who have lived this nightmare of race riots already, in the ’60s and ’70s, ’80s, now. Is this who you want leading us? A president who clearly and intentionally inflames violence in the middle of a riot to show how tough he is?” Kimmel added, “I don’t care what you are, right, left, Republican, Democrat, something else. Enough is enough. We’ve got to vote this guy out already.”
He added of the repetition of violence that has prompted the nationwide riots, “And we need to work on this problem we have, this blatant double standard because when you stand in front of the flag, you put your hand on your heart and you pledge allegiance with ‘liberty and justice for all,’ we don’t have that, ‘for all.’ I mean, I have it, a lot of you have it, but it’s not for all.”