President Obama, under pressure from black leaders who represent his most important political base, reversed course today after days of staying out and waded into the Trayvon Martin killing.
In doing so, he probably satisfied is own need to express outrage and appeased a growing clamor for him to say something. But in doing so he has prejudiced the case and allowed political and personal considerations to trump his solemn duty as leader of the nation and chief enforcer of its laws.
There are many issues that need to be resolved with respect to the Trayvon case. It’s early, and we don’t have all the facts, and unexpected twists always occur in cases like this.
Law enforcement authorities must investigate whether an innocent unarmed African American boy was killed because of racial profiling. And they must investigate why police released the shooter, Robert Zimmerman, after only a short while, and didn’t test him for drugs or alcohol.
A terrible crime may have been committed. But the shooter claims self defense. And we are innocent in this country until proven guilty.
White House Press Secretary Carney had said just this Tuesday: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Trayvon Martin’s family but obviously, we’re not going to wade into a local law-enforcement matter.”
Well, not so “obviously,” apparently.
Obama has suggested clear sympathy with the victim and an obvious inclination to believe a crime has been committed.” Speaking in the Rose Garden, Obama left no doubt that he doesn’t think this is a case of self defense, which happens all the time. He said:
All of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen.
Obama flashed emotion and empathy without knowing for sure if in fact the boy might have done something wrong. There’s always the possibility this is other than what it looks. And that’s for a jury to decide, a jury that will now be aware – as will prosecutors and defense attorneys – that Obama has the victim’s back.
When I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this. And that everybody pulls together . . . My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.
Here’s the video of Obama this morning.
This was not, despite what it appears, an off the cuff remark. Obama never takes questions at events such as these. Today, he waited for a question for which he had prepared an answer. I would not be surprised if the question was planted by the White House Press office, aware Obama wanted to say something.
This is not the first time Obama has preempted justice. Last year, he remarked that U.S. Private Bradley Manning, charged with leaking classified documents, “broke the law.” And in 2009, he blurted out at a press conference that a Cambridge, Mass., policeman “acted stupidly” when he arrested Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
If a young African American man was killed because he is black, then the killer needs to be punished in worst way legally available.
But there needs to be a trial first.