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June 6, 2020

An Oval Office speech? Trump’s advisers torn over how to address protests

National

 
June 6, 2020

WASHINGTON: The last time US President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office, with a March 11 speech on fighting the coronavirus, the former reality TV star was panned, even by his own aides.

Nearly three months later, a new crisis has arisen and the president and his advisers are debating whether a national address will tamp down a spasm of violent nationwide protests that erupted over the death of Floyd, an African American, 46, who died in Minneapolis police custody after being pinned beneath a white officer’s knee for nearly nine minutes. An Oval Office speech is one option, a variety of sources inside and outside the White House said, as Trump struggles to contain the violence threatening his political standing before a Nov. 3 election and strike the right tone on race and policing. Never comfortable with the presidential role of expressing empathy in a national tragedy, Trump has leaned on a law-and-order message in tweets and a call with state governors but avoided making a major speech.