Jim Clyburn says Trump is contributing to "American carnage"

Audrey McNamara

South Carolina Representative Jim Clyburn said Tuesday that President Trump has "contributed" to more "American carnage" than any president in his lifetime. Mr. Trump promised that "American carnage stops right here" at his inauguration three years ago.

Law enforcement officials in front of the White House on Monday sprayed tear gas and used flash bangs to clear people protesting the death of George Floyd as the president prepared to speak from the Rose Garden. The demonstration was described as peaceful. 

"It seems as if the president considers the exercise of one's First Amendment rights to be carnage," Clyburn said Tuesday on CBSN's "Red & Blue" program. "How we define it, generally, he has contributed to it more than any president in my lifetime. I don't think any president since maybe Woodrow Wilson."

Clyburn, the Majority Whip in the House of Representatives, called Minnesota's decision to open a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department a "very significant" step, and one that people "ought to feel pretty good about."

"We have to begin to take action here. We can't allow these things to continue to happen," he said. Clyburn noted that only one Minneapolis police officer has ever been convicted for murder, and that happened to be a black police officer.

Clyburn was referencing former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who was found guilty of murdering Justine Damond three years ago. Damond, a white woman, was unarmed when she was shot and killed by Noor, who was responding to a possible sexual assault she had called in. 

"There's something very interesting going on in Minneapolis that all of us need to take a harder look at," Clyburn said. "... Something is just not right, I feel it in my gut."

Asked what he would say to younger Americans who are outraged by continued incidents like Mr. Floyd's death and feel that the system has failed them — and the generations that came before them — Clyburn said: "In this country, the pendulum goes back and forth. Our society goes back and forth, just like the pendulum on the clock."

"I went to jail trying to change the laws. We went to jail wondering whether or not we were doing the right thing. We changed those laws. We did the right thing, and many people are benefiting from it today," Clyburn said. "When I went to jail back then I think there were two or three African Americans in the United States Congress, today there are 55. That's a change."

"We need to keep pressing. We are in the pursuit of a more perfect union," he said. 

"This is not a perfect country, it is a good country — it's even a great country. We've got to make this country's greatness accessible and affordable for all of its citizens. And you don't do that by criticizing, or by standing on the sidelines, or by throwing bricks, or by burning down buildings. You do that by building upon those sacrifices that our parents made."

Analyzing Trump's calls for military mobilization to confront nationwide protests

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio's daughter arrested at protests

Senator Cory Booker slams Trump over church photo-op