Plans are being discussed for former Vice President Joe Biden to attend the funeral services for George Floyd next Tuesday in Houston, but the arrangements have not been finalized, according to a person familiar with the matter.
A Biden campaign spokesman on Tuesday declined to comment on whether there were plans to attend the funeral. An attorney for Floyd’s family, Ben Crump, said Tuesday, “We understand that Vice President Biden will be in attendance.” CNN has reached out directly to Crump for comment.
The presumptive Democratic 2020 nominee delivered a speech on Tuesday that addressed systemic racism in America and empathized with those protesting across the nation in the wake of the police killing of Floyd. Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis after a white police officer, who has since been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, kneeled on his neck.
Protests against racism and police brutality have spread across the United States – from Minneapolis to the nation’s capital. Floyd’s family has called for the other three officers who were present during Floyd’s death, who have since been fired, to be charged and convicted.
Biden, speaking in Philadelphia on Tuesday, called Floyd’s killing “a wake-up call for our nation,” and began his speech: “‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’ George Floyd’s last words. But they didn’t die with him. They’re still being heard. They’re echoing across this nation.”
Biden spoke to Floyd’s family by phone last week, and Floyd’s brother, Philonise, described it as a “great conversation.” Biden told CNN’s Don Lemon that he offered the family empathy as someone who has also suffered loss, and praised their courage in this difficult time.
Philonese Floyd told CNN that President Donald Trump also called him, but that Trump “didn’t give me an opportunity to even speak” and that the conversation was very brief.
Biden on Tuesday condemned Trump’s response to the protests against racism and police brutality, drawing a sharp contrast between himself and the president. Peaceful protesters in a park outside the White House on Monday were hit with tear gas so that Trump could cross the park and visit St. John’s Church for a photo opportunity – a move that the Episcopal bishop that oversees the church later condemned.
On Sunday, Biden visited the site of a protest in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware. Biden also held a discussion with African American community leaders in Wilmington and a virtual roundtable with the mayors of cities that have seen protests and violence – Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and St. Paul, Minnesota.