As protests continue to flare across the country, President Donald Trump and his top aides cannot settle on the next steps the White House should take to ease tensions after the latest death of an African American man detained by a white police officer.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows has been pushing for the president to deliver a formal address to the nation to emphasize his support for law and order and police officers, a familiar trope for the Republican Party and one that typically plays well with its base.
Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, along with several other top aides, argued against such a move, fearing the tone could alienate key voters ahead of the November election, including African Americans whose support the administration has been trying to court. An address would also detract from the president’s message of trying to restart the economy as quickly as possible, allies said. The president’s last formal address — in mid-March from the Oval Office, dealing with the growing coronavirus crisis — was not viewed internally as a success, since the White House had to later clarify several points from the hastily written speech, which Trump appeared uncomfortable delivering.