Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday that President Trump should focus less of his efforts on tweeting his opinions and spend more time unifying the country and empathizing with the American people.
“I would ask the president to first and foremost speak in the language of unity, the language of empathy,” Ms. Rice, a professor at Stanford University who served as secretary of state under the George W. Bush administration, told CBS News’ Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation.”
“Not everyone is going to agree with any president, with this president, but you have to speak to every American, not just to those who might agree with you,” she continued. “And you have to speak about the deep wounds that we have and that we’re going to overcome them.
“I’ve heard the president talk about the resilience of Americans — I’d love to hear more of that,” she added. “Twitter and tweeting are not great ways for complex thoughts, for complex messages. When the president speaks, it needs to be from a place of thoughtfulness, from a place of having really honed the message so that it reaches all Americans. And by the way, not just the president. I would love to hear this from our leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle. I would love to hear from mayors and from governors and from others. Leaders at this particular point need to do everything that they can to overcome, not intensify our divisions.”
Ms. Rice was describing how she would advise Mr. Trump in handling the unrest over the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose police custody death in Minneapolis sparked violent protests and looting across the country.
Mr. Trump sparked an uproar when he tweeted amid the unrest, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a phrase that was used by a controversial Miami police chief in 1967. The president later said heard the phrase many times over the years and didn’t know the historical context.
Ms. Rice referenced the tweet Sunday, saying the president should be more careful.
“I would say think about the historical context before you say something, because it is a deep wound,” she said. “And the presidency is special in that regard. People look to the Oval Office as we’ve looked to the Oval Office throughout our history for messages, for signals. And as I said, the president has used some language that I’m really very, very much admire, like the resilience of the American people. Just be careful about those messages. I’m not advising the president, but if I were, I would say let’s put tweeting aside for a little bit and talk to us, have a conversation with us. And I think we need that. And I think he can do it.”
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