Video clips of President Donald Trump pretending to choke while saying “I can’t breathe” have been circulating with the misleading suggestion that he was mocking George Floyd. The videos pre-date Floyd’s death and show the president mocking his political rivals — not Floyd.
President Donald Trump has said of several political rivals that they “choked.” He then puts his hand to his throat and says, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”
None of the clips show the president talking about Floyd.
Most of them show a Feb. 20 rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, which took place the night after a Democratic primary debate. At one point, Trump said of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “Look, Bloomberg made a fool out of himself last night. He choked. He’s another one, he’s going, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.'”
But the only part of the video that is shown in the clips is when the president says, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” and feigns choking.
And Trump’s use of the phrase has been noted before.
Factbase Video. “Speech: Donald Trump in Rome, NY – April 12, 2016.” YouTube. 12 Apr 2016.
President Trump Campaign Rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado. C-SPAN. 20 Feb 2020.
President Trump Campaign Rally in Las Vegas. C-SPAN. 21 Feb 2020.
Lore, Diane. “Trump invokes Eric Garner’s last words in criticism of Mitt Romney.” SILive.com. 13 Apr 2016.