White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama decided to put out a statement on the Zimmerman verdict yesterday because it “was fairly big news, and it was something that was being watched nationally.”
“And the president, of course, had spoken about Trayvon Martin in the past, after he was killed,” Carney continued, in reference to Obama saying that he had a son he might be Trayvon.
“And the president wanted to convey that he felt that the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy for his family, for a community, but also for the country. And he wanted to note that in the wake of the verdict, the strong passions the case had elicited could be running even higher and that it was important to remember that we are a nation of laws and a jury had spoken.”
The president “also wanted to ask every American to heed the call for calm reflection from Trayvon Martin’s parents.”
“A rather remarkable request given how much they have suffered and were suffering after losing their son,” Carney said. “And he wanted to express his view that as we reflect in response to that call, that we should ask ourselves if we are doing all that we can to foster compassion and understanding in our communities and to stem the tide of gun violence. As well as how we can prevent future tragedies like this from happening.”
Carney said the decision on whether to pursue federal civil-rights charges against George Zimmerman rests with the Justice Department “and that is not something the president involves himself in.”
“He has no opinion to express and — about a disposition of how the Justice Department would look at this. He did speak about it in personal terms. And I think his statement yesterday reflects how the loss of a young person is a source of great anguish and pain for the parents of that person, for the community where that person lived — that young person lived, and to the whole country. Because the loss is greater when a young person dies because the potential of that life is so unfulfilled. So I think that’s how the president viewed it then and views it now.”