Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will travel to Houston on Monday to meet with the family of George Floyd, the man whose killing by a Minneapolis police officer has set off protests across the country, a campaign aide said Sunday.
Biden will offer his condolences in person a day before the third and final funeral service for Floyd. He’ll also tape a video to play at the ceremony, the Biden aide said.
The former vice president will not stay for the service out of concern for disrupting the event since he has Secret Service protection that would require security sweeps, said a person familiar with the decision.
Biden’s trip to the Texas city where Floyd spent much of his life will bolster his efforts to strike a sharp contrast with President Donald Trump, whose response to Floyd’s killing has centered around encouraging a strong show of force against looting and violence. Trump won’t attend the funeral either, and hasn’t indicated that he plans to meet with the Floyds in person.
Floyd, 46, died on Memorial Day after a police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes. His death set off protests across the U.S. and the world, some of them accompanied by violence and looting. Governors in many states have deployed the National Guard to deal with the unrest, although massive demonstrations on Saturday were largely peaceful.
Biden has spoken about racial inequality and promised Floyd’s family that he will do what he can to help them find justice.
“Once again — the words ‘I can’t breathe.’ An act of brutality so elemental, it did more than deny one more black man in America his civil rights and his human rights. It denied his very humanity. It denied him of his life,” Biden said a few days after Floyd was killed. It was just one of several expressions of grief over the death by the former vice president.
Floyd’s brothers have said they had an extended conversation with Biden, while their phone call with Trump was brief. Philonse Floyd asked Biden to “promise me people will be held accountable,” the candidate told donors on Monday.
The trip will be Biden’s first time flying since he suspended campaign travel in mid-March as much of the country shut down to slow the spread of Covid-19. After more than two months of campaigning from his Wilmington, Delaware, home, he appeared in public on May 25 to visit a local veterans monument on Memorial Day.
Biden’s team had been planning a slow return to travel as states loosened restrictions, but his desire to respond to the outcry following Floyd’s killing sped up that timeline. A week ago he visited the site of protests in Wilmington, and on June 1 he met with community leaders at a church there. On June 2 Biden traveled to nearby Philadelphia to deliver a speech.
The funeral in Houston is part of several days of memorials, beginning with a service in Minneapolis, where Floyd lived and was killed on Thursday. There was another service on Saturday in the small town of Raeford, North Carolina, where Floyd was born.
Source: Orange County Register