With Nation on Edge, Officials' Comments Range From Appeals for Tolerance to Placing Blame

Officials take stances on race and policing that differ sharply.

— -- In the wake of a week of violence that has left the nation on edge, public officials across the political spectrum are making comments about race and policing that range from appeals for tolerance to placing blame.

Gingrich made his comments the day after a Dallas gunman killed five law enforcement officers, and in the same week that two African American men died in police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.

The remarks by the Republican former Georgia congressman, who served as speaker from 1990 until 1995, were in stark contrast to when he once called President Barack Obama the “food stamp president” and when Gingrich once derided bilingual education as teaching “the language of living in a ghetto.”

Patrick, a Republican, said the demonstrators who had been marching against police brutality when the violence broke out were “hypocrites” for expecting law enforcement to protect them.

“All those protesters last night, they ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to turn around and protect them,” Patrick said Friday during an interview with Fox News. “What hypocrites!”

“All those protesters last night, they ran the other way expecting the men and women in blue to turn around and protect them,” Patrick said during an interview with Fox News on Friday. “What hypocrites!”

Patrick also blamed social media and some Black Lives Matter protesters for instigating what he said is hatred and violence toward American law enforcement.

“You can’t go out on social media and mainstream media and everywhere else and say that the police are racist, that the police are hateful, the police are killers,” he said. “Too many in the general public who aren’t criminals but have a big mouth are creating situations like we saw last night.”

"In the coming days, there will be those who foment distrust and fan the flames of dissension," Abbott wrote in his letter. “To come together -- that would be the greatest rebuke to those who seek to tear us apart."

Dayton questioned whether Castile would have been killed if the driver and passengers in the car were white.

"Would this have happened if ... the driver and passenger were white? I don’t think it would’ve," Dayton said. "So I'm forced to confront and I think all of us in Minnesota are forced to confront that this kind of racism exists."

Dayton's comments drew some criticism. Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, told The Washington Post that Dayton “exploited what was already a horrible and tragic situation.”

But Dayton said Friday that he stands by his remarks that race played a role in Castile’s death.