President Trump was asked about the Confederate flag and police violence toward African Americans in a CBS interview Tuesday—and his responses seem unlikely to ease tensions. When interviewer Catherine Herridge asked the president why Black people "are still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country," Trump talked about white people instead. "So are white people. What a terrible question to ask," he said. "So are white people. More white people, by the way." Politico notes that while a study of police use of lethal force in 17 states between 2009 and 2012 found that 52% of people killed by police were white, African Americans were 2.8 times more likely to die at the hands of police.
Trump also said he believes the debate over the Confederate flag is a freedom of speech issue and declined to say whether he would be uncomfortable with people flying it at his rallies, the Washington Post reports. When Herridge asked if he understood "why the flag is a painful symbol for many people because it's a reminder of slavery," Trump brought up NASCAR's decision to ban the flag, saying, "I know people that like the Confederate flag and they're not thinking about slavery." He added: "I just think it's freedom of speech, whether it's freedom of speech, whether it's Confederate flags or Black Lives Matter or anything else you want to talk about." (Read more President Trump stories.)