Former President Jimmy Carter spoke out Wednesday against the racial discrimination that plagues America and said people in power must say “no more” to a racially discriminatory police system and the “immoral” economic disparities between white and black people.
“Rosalynn and I are pained by the tragic racial injustices and consequent backlash across our nation in recent weeks,” Carter said in a statement following the death of George Floyd and subsequent nationwide protests. “Our hearts are with the victims’ families and all who feel hopeless in the face of pervasive racial discrimination and outright cruelty.”
Carter, however, rejected the violence that has also broken out in cities across the nation as police and protesters have, at times, clashed and looters have broken into businesses.
“We all must shine a spotlight on the immorality of racial discrimination. But violence, whether spontaneous or consciously incited, is not a solution,” said Carter, 95, who was commander in chief from 1977 to 1981.
The former Democratic president recalled the long, painful history of racial injustice in America and his quest for human rights around the world, saying that “as a white male of the South, I know all too well the impact of segregation and injustice to African-Americans.”
He said America needs to do better.
“[W]e have seen that silence can be as deadly as violence,” Carter said. “People of power, privilege, and moral conscience must stand up and say ‘no more’ to a racially discriminatory police and justice system, immoral economic disparities between whites and blacks, and government actions that undermine our unified democracy.”
He added: “We are responsible for creating a world of peace and equality for ourselves and future generations. We need a government as good as its people, and we are better than this.”
Carter is the latest president to speak out after Floyd died in custody after a police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck for several minutes in moments captured on cellphone video. The four officers involved in his arrest have been fired and criminally charged.
Former President Barack Obama will address Floyd’s death for the first time on camera in a virtual town hall Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET. Last week, Obama said the death of Floyd at the hands of a Minnesota police officer “shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America,” and later laid out plans for change.
Former President George W. Bush on Wednesday broke his silence on the death of George Floyd, saying that he was “anguished” by the incident and calling “for America to examine our tragic failures” when it comes to racial injustice.
“We have resisted the urge to speak out, because this is not the time for us to lecture,” Bush said in a statement. “It is time for us to listen. It is time for America to examine our tragic failures — and as we do, we will also see some of our redeeming strengths.”
Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.