George Floyd’s brother arrives at the Capitol to testify

President Donald Trump walks past police officers at Lafayette Park in Washington on June 1, Patrick Semansky / AP

In the two weeks since George Floyd’s death, advisers to President Donald Trump have been working to prepare him for the face of the national moment.

Some shared with him stories of their own or friendly experiences with racism, encouraging Trump to be more empathetic.

A group of White House officials sought ideas from criminal justice reform advocates on police reform and suggested that the president meet with African-American leaders. Also this week, White House officials put the president in a room with law enforcement officials who argued that certain aspects of police work could change.

But as Trump now believes he will support some of these reforms and address race and police issues in a prominent speech, his message on the subject remains confused and – according to some advisers – preoccupied with the tough stance he took at the outset. protests across the country that some find difficult to walk backwards.

In the two weeks since the national protests began, Trump has sought to remove unrest using excessive police and military force, showed little interest in addressing the issue of systemic racism at the center of the protests, and renewed his criticism of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem as a form of peaceful protests.

Even as he believes he will unveil police reform proposals as early as this week, Trump and many of his top lieutenants have denied systemic racism a problem in the police force at all.

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