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Trump draws criticism for saying jobs numbers reflect ‘great day’ for George Floyd

The U.S. enters another weekend still echoing with outrage over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, plus more reports of police violence in the subsequent protests. But there is also news of some economic recovery, with more than 2 million jobs added in May. The president melded the two during Friday remarks at the Rose Garden -- and quickly drew criticism for it. Stephanie Sy reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The United States enters this first weekend in June still reeling with outrage over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

    But there is also news of economic recovery, with more than two million jobs added back to the work force last month. The president melded the two today and quickly drew criticism for it.

    Stephanie Sy begins our coverage.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying, this is a great thing that's happening for our country. This is a great day for him. It's a great day for everybody.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    President Trump invoked the memory of George Floyd this morning, as he hailed the May jobs report, calling it the greatest thing that can happen for race relations, even though unemployment rates for minorities actually went up.

    In Delaware, a short time later, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, former Vice President Joe Biden, condemned Mr. Trump's remarks.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden:

    For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd, I, frankly, think is despicable.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    The president's appearance came in the Rose Garden, at a White House now behind barricades, but he only briefly addressed the nationwide protests against police violence on black Americans.

  • President Donald Trump:

    It will all work out. Some governors may need a little help yet, but I think, for the most part, they are in good shape. We have fantastic military. We have a fantastic National Guard. National Guard was barely used.

    You have to dominate the streets. You can't let what's happening happen.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    But on one street near the White House, the protesters' cause now dominates. After a week defined by unrest and crackdowns from the police and National Guard, today, a major street declared "Black Lives Matter" in bright yellow paint.

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser officially renamed the block Black Lives Matter Plaza.

  • Mayor Muriel Bowser:

    What we have to say to young black youth is that they matter, we care about them, and we hear them, and we're listening to them. And we're trying to make all of our systems, starting right here in Washington, D.C., more fair.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    But the local Black Lives Matter organization chapter called the action — quote — "a performative distraction from real policy," and instead demanded tangible reforms.

  • Protesters:

    Hands up!

  • Protesters:

    Don't shoot!

  • Protesters:

    Hands up!

  • Protesters:

    Don't shoot!

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Last night, peaceful demonstrators weathered D.C. thunderstorms at the eight-foot fence now circling the perimeter of the people's house. It was one of many protests around the country free of violence.

    But, in Buffalo, New York, another viral video of police violence. Local news cameras captured the moment an officer pushed 75-year-old Martin Gugino to the ground, leaving blood dripping from a head wound. The officers had claimed the man tripped. They have since been suspended.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was alarmed.

  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

    It disturbs your basic sense of decency and humanity. Why? Why? Why was that necessary? Where was the threat? An older gentleman, where was the threat?

  • Stephanie Sy:

    It was one of a growing number of incidents of police violence being reported, including Tuesday in Los Angeles, where police smashed a black man's car windows and dragged him onto the ground.

  • Man:

    Go home.

  • Woman:

    Curfew is 8:00.

  • Man:

    Go home.

  • Woman:

    Curfew is 8:00.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    In New York City, last night, police were more restrained than the night before, but, eventually, they did arrest demonstrators for breaking the 8:00 curfew.

    Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the enforcement actions.

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio:

    Sometimes, it's because there's a lot more there than meets the eye. And when you're after curfew, you have a threat of violence, you have evidence of violence being intended and people have been asked to be dispersed, I want to remind you that those are real conditions that have to be understood.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Meanwhile, the National Football League is under increasing pressure, four years after the San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick started his own protest by taking a knee during the national anthem. He has not played in the league since.

    In Florida today, the Jacksonville Jaguars marched in solidarity. And more than a dozen NFL players released a Stronger Together video on social media.

  • Man:

    On behalf of the National Football League…

  • Man:

    This is what we, the players…

  • Man:

    Would like to hear you state:

  • Man:

    We, the National Football League…

  • Man:

    … condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people.

  • Stephanie Sy:

    Those demands continued today and into this evening in cities across the country, from Kansas City.

  • Protester:

    This is people against racism and injustice.

    (APPLAUSE)

  • Stephanie Sy:

    To Dallas, where the police department organized a Blue for Black Lives Matter march.

    And in Minneapolis today, where police killed George Floyd, the city agreed to ban all police choke holds and require any bystanding officers to intervene in violations.

    And California Governor Gavin Newsom also announced an end to pinning suspects by the neck.

    Support from unexpected corners and steps toward reform.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Stephanie Sy.

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