Rep. Val Demings condemned President Donald Trump on Sunday for an order to crack down on federal anti-racism training initiatives.
“We need a commander-in-chief who clearly understands and wants to address racism in all systems,” the Florida Democrat said in ABC’s “This Week. “Until we get to that point, we will continue to see the problems and be plagued by the problems that we’re seeing every day right now.”
In a White House memo from the Office of Management and Budget, Trump is cited for believing anti-racism training in the federal workforce is “divisive” and “anti-American.” Responding, Demings, a former Orlando, Fla., police chief said, “Racism has been the ghost in the room in this country for 400 years.”
“We got to deal with inequality in all things,” she said. “In health care, we see the effects of Covid-19 on Black and brown communities. In education … we know that [the] overwhelming majority of people in our prison systems, for example, are Black and brown, and a majority did not graduate high school. We’ve got to deal with injustices in education, in lending, in housing.”
Asked about the nationwide protests on racism and police brutality, Demings urged peaceful protesting and accountability for looting and violence.
“Our job is to make sure that peaceful protesters are able to exercise their right guaranteed under the First Amendment,” Demings said. “But we also have to make sure that those who break the law, those who exercise violence, regardless of what side of the political aisle that they’re on, must be held accountable.”
Demings slammed Trump for “throwing fire” at protests, agreeing with a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll that most Americans say Trump is making protests and unrest worse.
“While America was going through civil unrest in all 50 states, quite frankly, America was on fire, we had a president, a commander-in-chief, who with us walking around with a gasoline can, not trying to sow peace and calm, but actually throwing fire on an already volatile situation,” Demings said in her interview.