House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came under fire Tuesday evening after speaking on the guilty verdict in Derek Chauvin murder trial. The 81-year-old delivered a speech many online users felt was offensive and poorly worded.
In what appeared to be an attempt at highlighting the outpouring of support that followed in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death at the hand of the former Minneapolis police officer, Pelosi instead said, “Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice.”
“For being there to call out to your mom — how heartbreaking was that?” she continued. “Call out to your mom, ‘I can’t breathe.’ But because of you, thousands, millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice,” she said. Speaker Pelosi’s remarks angered many who believed she characterized Floyd’s death as voluntary. Several people took to their social media platforms to denounce the politician and her remarks.
One Twitter user wrote, “No. This is not it. Black people are not sacrificial lambs. He was killed because of injustice not as a symbol of anything.” They added, “He was a human. A man. A father. A brother. Let’s not do this.”
Another person commented, “What??? WHAT???? He was murdered not a willing participant! Why do Black people always have to sacrifice our lives so this country can act like it has a conscious? This is a horrible take. HORRIBLE.”
“After hearing Nancy Pelosi’s comments on George Floyd, my only political opinion is that we should stop electing really old people to office and enforce term limits,” expressed writer Andy Isaac.
Speaker Pelosi later clarified her remarks on Twitter, writing, “George Floyd should be alive today. His family’s calls for justice for his murder were heard around the world. He did not die in vain.” She added, “We must make sure other families don’t suffer the same racism, violence & pain, and we must enact the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act.”
Despite her clarification, she seemingly only made matters worse, further angering critics, including one user who wrote, “Your statement is SO UNBELIEVABLY OUT OF TOUCH.”
They added, “George Floyd DID die in vain. This verdict is not justice. It’s accountability for something that NEVER should have happened. Black people are not sacrificial lambs on the altar of white supremacy. So ashamed of your statements.”
“You quote tweeted this without apologizing? 😳” wrote another. “George Floyd didn’t sacrifice his life for justice; he was murdered. Folks are rightfully calling you out for calling his murder a sacrifice. You need to address that, not double down.”
Chauvin was convicted on all charges, including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, in Floyd’s May 25, 2020, death by a 12-person jury in the Hennepin County Court on Tuesday.