U.S. President Donald Trump responded to a question on why black Americans are still dying at the hands of police by pointing to higher numbers of white people killed by law enforcement, in an interview with CBS News published Tuesday.
“What a terrible question to ask,” Trump said, adding that “so are white people. More white people, by the way. More white people.”
Studies show that a disproportionate number of black Americans are killed by police compared to white people, who make up a much larger share of the U.S. population.
There are no country-wide official statistics on deaths at the hands of the police in the US, but a Washington Post analysis indicates that in absolute terms, the number of white people killed by police is indeed higher.
Of the 5,400 people fatally shot by police since 2015, black people made up 23 per cent of those killed, despite accounting for only 13 per cent of the population.
Meanwhile, 45 per cent were white, despite 60 per cent of the U.S .population being white.
According to a study from Harvard University released in June, black Americans are more than three times more likely to be killed by police.
Trump has in recent weeks escalated his rhetoric against the Black Lives Matter movement, which has received unprecedented support in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minnesota police custody.
The U.S. president has been accused of taking no clear stance against systematic racism and police brutality.
He has focused primarily on violence on the fringes of peaceful demonstrations.