President Donald Trump has come under fire for stating that "more white people" are killed by police than Black people. The statement came after he was asked why Black Americans are "still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country."
"So are white people. So are white people. What a terrible question to ask. So are white people," President Trump told CBS News. "More white people, by the way. More white people."
President Trump is correct that police killed more white people between 2013 and 2017 than any other demographic. However, this does not account for population. White people are the largest portion of the population, and once this is considered, a Harvard study found that Black people were nearly three times more likely to be killed by law enforcement officers.
Journalists were quick to point out the error.
Yamiche Alcindor of PBS wrote: "Context for President Trump saying more white people are killed by the police: Despite only making up 13 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans are two-and-a-half times more likely than white Americans to be killed by the police."
Joe Fox of the Washington Post went on to explain that the claim is a common misconception of data.
"Every day I see people share the Post's Fatal Force database and claim police shootings do not disproportionately kill black people," he wrote. "That is completely, provably, obviously wrong. The current version of the database makes the discrepancy extremely clear."
Every day I see people share the Post's Fatal Force database and claim police shootings do not disproportionately kill black people.— ☕🦊 (@joemfox) June 2, 2020
That is completely, provably, obviously wrong.
The current version of the database makes the discrepancy extremely clear.https://t.co/mJHnfMTuio pic.twitter.com/P29SQyFQiL
Kenneth Vogel of the New York Times added: "Trump, apparently seeking to minimize police killings of Black people, notes that 'more white people' are killed by police. While technically true, that's deeply misleading. Black people are 13.4% of the US population. White people are 60.4%."
TRUMP, apparently seeking to minimize police killings of Black people, notes that "more white people" are killed by police.— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) July 14, 2020
While technically true, that's deeply misleading.
Black people are 13.4% of the US population.
White people are 60.4%.
And yet… https://t.co/U4eiO1C5pb https://t.co/SG6SDN1RTK pic.twitter.com/xajzMLxNpQ
During the same interview, President Trump also discussed his defense of the Confederate flag and statues.
"All I say is freedom of speech. It's very simple. My attitude is freedom of speech. Very strong views on the Confederate flag. With me, it's freedom of speech. Very simple. Like it, don't like it, it's freedom of speech," Trump said.
“You understand why the Confederate flag is a painful symbol because it's a reminder of slavery?"— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) July 14, 2020
Trump:”People love it & I don't view--& they're not thinking about slavery”
He also claimed that “more” White people are killed by police than Black people.pic.twitter.com/RDTqlb2mmX
Asked whether he would be "comfortable" with supporters displaying the Confederate flag at his events, Trump said:
"You know, it depends on what your definition is. But I am comfortable with freedom of speech. It's very simple," Trump said.
Trump was then asked if he understood "why the flag is a painful symbol for many people because it's a reminder of slavery."
Trump replied: "Well, people love it and I don't view — I know people that like the Confederate flag and they're not thinking about slavery. I look at NASCAR — you go to NASCAR, you had those flags all over the place. They stopped it."
"I just think it's freedom of speech, whether it's freedom of speech, whether it's Confederate flags or Black Lives Matter or anything else you want to talk about. It's freedom of speech," Trump concluded.