Former President Barack Obama was hammered for what critics say was a tone-deaf post linking the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, to the two-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder.
The former president shared the message on Twitter Wednesday in the wake of the massacre at Robb Elementary School that killed 19 children and two fourth-grade teachers.
“As we grieve the children of Uvalde today, we should take time to recognize that two years have passed since the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer.” Obama tweeted. “His killing stays with us all to this day, especially those who loved him.”
As authorities in Texas were identifying the victims of the slaughter and reckoning with its aftermath, some critics slammed Obama for also invoking the death of Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest on May 25, 2020.
Seth Dillon, the CEO of the right-wing news publication The Babylon Bee, tweeted sarcastically: “It sucks those kids died, but remember George Floyd? He’s who I’m still thinking about.” — Barack Obama.”
Emanuel Rincon, editor-at-large at the conservative Latino publication El American, wrote: “The families of more than 20 people (mostly children) killed yesterday do not deserve this disrespect.”
Barrington Martin II, a former congressional candidate from Georgia, bristled at Obama’s seemingly conflating the school shooting with Floyd’s murder.
“Those babies were truly innocent, he wasn’t. Let’s not put them in the same sentence of a man who’s untimely death was used to unleash a summer’s worth of chaos in the name of faux social justice,” he tweeted, referring to the months of protests that broke out after Floyd’s death.
Jason Whitlock, the host of the right-wing podcast Fearless, issued a full-throated condemnation of Obama’s remarks: “Let’s stand George Floyd on the dead bodies of slaughtered children. This is one of the worst tweets in history.”
Other critics of the 44th U.S. president expressed their dismay more succinctly, with pundit Matt Walsh simply writing: “What in God’s name is wrong with you.”
On the day of the Uvalde tragedy, Obama released a lengthier statement on Instagram, condemning the violence and calling for stricter gun control measures.
“Michelle and I grieve with the families of Uvalde, who are experiencing pain no one should have to bear,” he wrote. “We’re also angry for them.”
“Nearly ten years after Sandy Hook – and ten days after Buffalo – our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies.”