House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday received a barrage of criticism on social media following comments she made about George Floyd after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murder and manslaughter in his death.
Addressing the press alongside the Congressional Black Caucus shortly after the disgraced former Minneapolis cop was convicted by a jury, Pelosi expressed gratitude to Floyd for “sacrificing” his life for justice.
“Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice,” Pelosi said. “For being there to call out to your mom—how heartbreaking was that? Call out for your mom, ‘I can’t breathe.’ But because of you and because of thousands—millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous with justice.”
Speaker Pelosi at the Congressional Black Caucus presser after Chauvin verdict:
“Thank you George Floyd for sacrificing your life for justice.” pic.twitter.com/JfapSsKdtX
— The Recount (@therecount) April 20, 2021
Pelosi’s comments, however, did not sit down well with a section of people on social media. People quickly reminded her Floyd was murdered and he did not under any circumstance put himself in a sacrificial position. Floyd, 46, passed away after Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes despite repeatedly telling him he couldn’t breathe. The May 25 incident sparked unprecedented protests in the United States as well as several other countries in what was a year of racial reckoning.
“George Floyd didn’t ‘sacrifice’ his life for anything. He was murdered!”, a user tweeted in response to Pelosi’s comments.
Historian, writer, activist and professor, Barbara Ransby, also wrote: “Did Pelosi just say ‘George Floyd, thank u 4 sacrificing your life for justice’? He did not SACRIFICE his life. His life was violently taken.”
The House Speaker, however, appeared to clarify her comments in a follow-up tweet, writing: “George Floyd should be alive today. His family’s calls for justice for his murder were heard around the world. He did not die in vain. We must make sure other families don’t suffer the same racism, violence & pain.”
Take a look at more reactions to her initial comments below:
God forbid I am ever taken from this earth by a white supremacist or system of white supremacy, please don't let the people like Nancy Pelosi say I "sacrificed my life".
— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) April 20, 2021
Pelosi is out of pocket but she's also not the only white person who will do this today so this is just a reminder that murder victims don't "sacrifice" themselves. George Floyd did not choose what happened to him. He wanted to be alive. He begged for it. He was not a martyr.
— Claire Willett (@clairewillett) April 20, 2021
I'm ignoring Nancy Pelosi's terrible statement because today is not about her. It's about George Floyd, his family, and all of those who have been victims of police violence.Loading...
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) April 20, 2021
Nancy Pelosi thanked George Floyd for dying so that we could get justice for him dying?
Literally her just being like hey thanks for testing out the justice system so we know it barely works when we have overwhelming video evidence of a horrific murder.
— Shayne Smith (@Shaydozer) April 20, 2021
I feel like murder victims don't actually sacrifice their lives, they'd rather be alive, that's kind of the whole point https://t.co/0CFPbs3ptn
— Noah Smith 🐇 (@Noahpinion) April 21, 2021
No. George Floyd was not sacrificing his life, he was murdered. Arresting, charging and punishing his murderer is accountability, not justice. https://t.co/QZ0gH6THz4
— the sun’s daughter🌞 (@ephrata) April 20, 2021
This framing of Floyd’s murder turns the death of a real human being into the cinematic trope of the kindly black supporting character sacrificed for the growth and redemption of the narrative’s white protagonists https://t.co/seHY2N5tuw
— Adam Serwer 🍝 (@AdamSerwer) April 20, 2021
He didn’t sacrifice his life, he was murdered.
Sacrifice implies a willingness to die. George Floyd was pleading for air. He wanted to live but he was shown no mercy.
These politicians are completely out of touch with reality. https://t.co/tKxfCRgxmq
— Shaykh Azhar Nasser (@ShaykhAzhar) April 21, 2021
It’s the way Nancy Pelosi put her hand to her chest as she said “the way you called out for you mom, ugh, how heartbreaking was that” just so cold and calculated lmao that woman is a menace.
— maybe: diane (@dianelyssa) April 20, 2021
Very brave of George Floyd to throw himself under that dirty cop's knee for nine and a half minutes https://t.co/NsNQM7EnN4
— david cross✍ (@davidcrosss) April 20, 2021