Despite a pandemic, economic turbulence, and protests across the country, President Donald Trump has yet to give a recent Oval Office address to the nation.
Trump’s aides downplayed the effectiveness of a potential Oval Office address.
During the Los Angeles riots in 1992, President George H.W. Bush delivered one of these speeches.
One of Bush’s speechwriters told Insider that Trump’s remarks about the protests were “very overdue” and that “we’ve come to associate the Oval Office with moments of drama and of tragedy.”
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In an address to the nation from the Oval Office of the White House on May 1, 1992, President George H.W. Bush outlined his administration’s plan to quell the Los Angeles riots in California.
The riots, prompted by the acquittal of three of the four police officers involved in the Rodney King beating from a year prior, were attributed to over 60 deaths in the county and over $1 billion in property damage.
Shortly after the verdict for the case was read on April 29, 1992, riots broke out in South Central Los Angeles. Video shot from news helicopters depicted a chaotic scene that unfolded — including a white truck driver being pulled out of his vehicle and beaten by rioters amid the backdrop of looted buildings.
Two days after the riots kicked off, Bush took to the radio waves and television screens in a national message. In the roughly 12-minute speech, Bush said he sympathized with civil rights leaders and was “stunned” by the video showing King’s beating.
“What you saw and what I saw on the TV video was revolting,” Bush said, referring to the violent beating of King. “I felt anger. I felt pain. I thought, ‘How can I explain this to my grandchildren?'”
“Civil rights leaders and just plain citizens fearful of and sometimes victimized by police brutality were deeply hurt,” Bush added. “And I know good and decent policemen who were equally appalled.”
Bush immediately launched a federal criminal investigation, led by then-attorney general William Barr, into King’s beating and denounced the riots. After the Justice Department’s investigation, a year after the state jury’s verdict, two of the police officers were convicted and sentenced to serve two and a half years in prison.
In his televised address, Bush denounced the riots and said, “What we saw last night … is not about civil rights.”
“It’s been the brutality of a mob, pure and simple,” Bush said. “And let me assure you, I will use whatever force is necessary to restore order. What is going on in LA must and will stop. As your president, I guarantee you this violence will end.
“None of this is what we wish to think of as American. It’s as if we were looking in a mirror that distorted our better selves and turned us ugly. We cannot let that happen. We cannot do that to ourselves.”
Curt Smith, a former speechwriter for Bush and a senior lecturer at the University of Rochester, collaborated with other writers on the president’s speech at …read more
Source:: Business Insider
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