By Nikki Schwab, Senior U.s. Political Reporter For Dailymail.com
Published: 23:49 BST, 2 June 2020 | Updated: 00:20 BST, 3 June 2020
Former President George W. Bush broke his silence Tuesday afternoon on the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis black man who was killed by a white officer on Memorial Day.
Bush said that he and former first lady Laura Bush were 'anguished by the brutal suffocation' of Floyd and disturbed by what they've seen since, chiming in on the side of legitimate protests, seemingly a rebuke at President Trump.
'It is a strength when protesters, protected by responsible law enforcement, march for a better future,' Bush said.
He added that 'looting is not liberation, and destruction is not progress.'
'But we also know that lasting peace in our communities requires truly equal justice,' the ex-president said.
Former President George W. Bush spoke out Tuesday on the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis
Trump, in a tweet earlier Tuesday attacking Democratic rival Joe Biden, characterized protesters as 'anarchists, looters or thugs.'
Bush started out the statement by explaining his reluctance to release one.
He and the former first lady, he said, 'resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture.'
'It is time for us to listen,' he said.
But Bush also said it was time for the country to examine it's 'tragic failures.'
That way, he said, the country could find its 'redeeming strengths,' which among those was peaceful protests.sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more
'It remains a shocking failure that many African Americans, especially young African American men, are harassed and threatened in their own country,' Bush said.
'This tragedy — in a long series of similar tragedies — raises a long overdue question: How do we end systemic racism in our society?' Bush asked.
Bush suggested that could happen by listening to Americans who are 'hurting and grieving.'
'Those who set out to silence those voices do not understand the meaning of America - or how it becomes a better place,' he said.
Bush pointed to what he called the 'heroes of America' - Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. - and noted that they are 'heroes of unity.'
'Their calling has never been for the fainthearted. They often revealed the nation’s disturbing bigotry and exploitation — stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to examine,' Bush said.
'We can only see the reality of America's need by seeing it through the eyes of the threatened, oppressed, and disenfranchised,' the ex-president added.
And he suggested that's what the country needed to do now.