Towards the end of a news availability in which he announced his pick of Jim Yong Kim, President of Dartmouth College, as president of the World Bank, President Obama responded to a question about the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida more than three weeks ago.
“My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin: If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” Obama said. “I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and we’re going to get to the bottom of what happened.” [….]
“Obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And 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 – federal, state, and local – to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”
According to CBS News Obama also said:
“All of us have to do some soul-searching to figure out how does something like this happen,” he continued, “and that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident.”
The president often appears perturbed when he gets off-topic questions at ceremonial events, but on Friday, he seemed eager to address the case, which has quickly developed into an urgent cause in the African-American community. He cautioned that his comments would be limited because the Justice Department was investigating. But he talked at length about his personal feelings about the case….
Mr. Obama sidestepped some of the most sensitive and politically-charged specifics about the case — whether Mr. Zimmerman should be arrested; whether the “Stand your Ground” law goes too far in protecting people who shoot others; whether the police chief in the Florida town should be fired.
“I’m the head of the executive branch, and the attorney general reports to me,” Mr. Obama said. “So I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.”
I’m very glad that Obama chose to weigh in on the controversy, and I hope this means he will encourage Attorney General Holder to press forward with a serious investigation, as well as the arrest and further questioning of George Zimmerman.