Jimmy Kimmel grapples with George Floyd, protests, and Trump in emotional monologue
"Is this who you want leading us?"
That was the question Jimmy Kimmel posed to viewers on Friday, in an emotional monologue addressing the protests that emerged after the death of George Floyd, and President Donald Trump's response to those protests. Kimmel entreated viewers to vote Trump out of office in November, but also went further, attempting to grapple with the larger issues of racial injustice at play.
"I don't want to make this about Donald Trump, because this sense of hopelessness and frustration that black people in this country have been experiencing has been brewing for a long time," Kimmel said. "This is not on the government. It's on us."
Floyd, a black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck until he was unresponsive, which incited violent protests in the city and across the country calling for the officer, Derek Chauvin, to be arrested. (Chauvin was arrested and charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder on Friday, after multiple days of protests.) Protesters looted businesses and set fire to buildings, prompting Trump to issue a tweet threatening to send in the National Guard or the military, writing, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!"
"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 asked viewers. "A commander-in-chief who threatens to put members of our military... in the position of having to shoot a fellow American on sight?"
"Enough is enough," he continued. "We gotta vote this guy out already."
Kimmel also addressed the "loop we get stuck in" of violence begetting violence and the "blatant double standard" of justice in the U.S. "When you stand in front of the flag, you put your hand on your heart, you pledge allegiance 'with liberty and justice for all.' We don't have that for all. I have it, a lot of you have it, but it's not for all." He went on to share actor Tyler Merritt's video "Before You Call the Cops," noting, "It's a shame it even had to be made, but it's very powerful, and I think it's worth seeing, especially right now."
Protests continued nationwide on Saturday as citizens expressed their outrage and called for the officers who watched Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck to be charged as well. Many other celebrities also criticized Trump's response and expressed their support for the protestors.
You can watch Kimmel's full monologue above.