In a surprise appearance at the White House press briefing this afternoon, President Obama spoke in depth on the death of Trayvon Martin and, more generally, the complex nature of race in America and the disenchantment and alienation felt by many African-Americans. The unscripted remarks were arguably the most personal and heartfelt he's made as president.
On Twitter and elsewhere, prominent conservatives reacted pretty much as expected: They called Obama a racist, accused him of faking emotion, and claimed that he's only trying to distract from the IRS scandal, which isn't even a thing anymore.
The way The Prez has brought the whole country together should definitely be his main braggin' point.— Dennis Miller Show (@DennisDMZ) July 19, 2013
Obama helped ignite this ginned up racial melee by saying his son would look like Trayvon. Now he says he could have been Trayvon.— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 19, 2013
Obama says he's "bouncing around" ideas @ how to respond to Zim verdict. I guess just responding honestly was out of the question.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) July 19, 2013
BO mischaracterizing what happened in Sanford. He always makes things worse. Sigh.— Sister Toldjah (@sistertoldjah) July 19, 2013
0bama says black males disproportionate victims of violence. Did he mention they are also disproportionately the purveyors of violence?— Neal Boortz (@Talkmaster) July 19, 2013
He'll emote in the future if there are points to be scored. MT @TheFix Might be the most insight youll get on howPresObama feels on an issue— Mark Davis (@MarkDavis) July 19, 2013
Obama talking about how "black folks" view the justice system. Does he get to do that?— Eddie Scarry (@eScarry) July 19, 2013
If you ever had any doubts, Obama is the first Racist in Chief— DanRiehl (@DanRiehl) July 19, 2013
Obama comparing himself to Trayvon! 3 reasons why: IRS Hearings. Detroit. ObamaCare. That's why. Don't fall for it. http://t.co/3lV816Js0k— Tammy Bruce (@HeyTammyBruce) July 19, 2013
Let's see how the riots go, now that Obama says Trayvon is not only the son he never had, but a younger version of himself.— John Hayward (@Doc_0) July 19, 2013
Obama is the most irresponsible presidnet in history. Now we're having national debates about hypotheticals? #standyourground— Emily Miller (@EmilyMiller) July 19, 2013
It’s a combo protest diversion from scandals and attempt to weaken laws protecting right to self defense.— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) July 19, 2013
Read Obama’s remarks. My contrarian position: it was neither a call to race war or a epochal civil rights moment. Wins Friday cycle.— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) July 19, 2013
It is indeed true that our largest cities with huge poor populations are overwhelmingly African Americans but the discussion the nation may have about young people and how to inspire them should not exclude the other ethnic backgrounds where poverty has been the scourge. We should have the discussion focus on poverty – whether African American, white, Hispanic or something else.
Am I wrong?
President Obama is now our Race-Baiter in Chief. His remarks today on the Trayvon Martin tragedy are beyond reprehensible.
"Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," he said. He actually said the outcome might have been different if Trayvon had been white.
Folks - we have reached a very dangerous point in this nation when the president of the united states begins to question the judicial system.
We were able to find a handful of conservatives who weren't totally outraged by the remarks:
Just caught up with Obama's comments. I don't agree with everything he had to say, but I thought he struck the right tone.— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) July 19, 2013
I don't really have a problem with the President's speech today.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 19, 2013
President Obama didn't say even one single solitary word about how tough it is to be a white man in America today.— davidfrum (@davidfrum) July 19, 2013
This post has been updated with more reactions.