Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden addressed George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter Gianna in an emotional video played at Floyd’s funeral in Houston on Tuesday.
“Little Gianna, as I said to you when I saw you yesterday, you are so brave,” Biden said in the pre-recorded video, filmed at his home in Delaware. “Daddy is looking down at you, and he is so proud of you. I know you miss that bear hug that only he could give, the pure joy of riding on his shoulders so you could touch the sky.”
“And I know you have a lot of questions that no child should have to ask, questions that too many black children have had to ask for generations,” Biden continued. “Why? Why is Daddy gone? In looking through your eyes, we should all be asking ourselves why the answer is often too cruel and painful.”
Biden did not attend the funeral in person because he did not want to turn the event into a political spectacle, an attorney for the Floyd family said. Previous services for Floyd were held in Minneapolis and North Carolina.
But the approximately five minute video showcased the different ways that Biden and President Donald Trump are responding to the public uproar over police killings of black people, with five months to go before Election Day.
Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police officers last month has spurred weeks of protests against police brutality around the country. The four officers involved in the arrest were fired by the Minneapolis Police Department and are now facing charges.
Polls have shown Biden gaining momentum as the nation remains transfixed by the historic protests that are playing out against the backdrop of once-in-a-century public health and financial crises.
While Trump has shown some sympathy for Floyd’s case, he has directed his fury at those who are protesting, rather than the underlying concerns about discrimination in policing. Earlier in the day, Trump alleged that a 75-year-old man who was pushed down by police officers in Buffalo “could be an ANTIFA provocateur.”
Biden’s approach has been more somber. He has leaned into his experiences dealing publicly with the grief of losing a loved one. Biden’s son Beau Biden passed away in 2015 from brain cancer. In 1972, his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car crash shortly after he was elected to the Senate.
In a portion of the video addressing Floyd’s friends and family, Biden said that “for most people, the numbness you feel now, will slowly turn, day after day, season after season, into purpose through the memory of the one they lost.”
“But for you, that day has come before you can fully grieve. And unlike most, you must grieve in public. And, it’s a burden. A burden that is now your purpose — to change the world for the better in the name of George Floyd,” Biden said.
Biden also referenced a video of Gianna on the shoulders of her father’s close friend that went viral in recent days. The video shows Gianna proclaiming joyfully that “Daddy changed the world.”
“Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America,” Biden said in the video. “And then, as you said, Gianna, your daddy will have ‘changed the world.'”