Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned President Trump’s treatment of protesters demonstrating against police brutality, saying it is “hard to not conclude” that the U.S. leader is racist.
Sturgeon was asked in a Hits Radio Network interview that aired Friday whether she thought Trump was racist.
“I think sometimes it’s hard to not conclude that, and what I always say when I’m asked questions that that is I can’t see inside his head,” she responded, according to a transcript from The Scotsman.
She added that she’s been asked similar questions regarding U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“It’s not an unwillingness to confront the issue, it’s I don’t know what goes on inside Donald Trump’s head – maybe that’s a good thing – but I do know that the language you use and how you express yourself matters and if you don’t want to be accused of racism then don’t use racist language,” Sturgeon said.
The minister said that Trump should not equate people protesting against racism to those who “take to the streets in order to try to perpetrate racist values and attitudes.”
“I think at moments like this, whether it’s America or any other country, you need a leader – difficult though it is and none of us are perfect in any of these situations – that tries to bring people together and heal divides and address underlying issues and not one that seems to want to further polarize and provoke and force people into on two different sides,” Sturgeon said.
She said she didn’t know whether Trump is capable of that kind of leadership, “but if there’s ever a moment for him to prove that he is then surely that moment is now.”
Trump, she said, was “displaying a lack of leadership, perhaps, a lack of moral leadership” and that he should address the causes of the protests rather than “attacking those who are protesting.”
Sturgeon’s comments come after protesters took to the streets of her home country in solidarity with protests raging across the United States against racism and police brutality.
Sturgeon noted that Scotland itself was not immune to racism, noting that no woman from an ethnic minority has been elected to the Scottish Parliament.
“This is a moment where, yes we want to put pressure on Donald Trump, but we should also be looking within ourselves and what more we need to do,” the minister noted.
She said everyone has “big issues” to confront but called for the focus of international leaders to be on the United States.
“So, yes let’s focus on America and let’s put pressure on Donald Trump and America, but let’s not forget that we have our own houses to put in order as well,” she concluded.
Trump has faced criticism for his handling of protesters. He mobilized the federal forces to Washington, D.C., and encouraged the country’s governors to deploy their respective national guards, telling them earlier in the week that they needed to “dominate” protestors.
Last week, he lashed out at demonstrators in Minneapolis, warning that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”