Cuccinelli says George Floyd's death wasn't about race

Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli said Sunday that he doesn't believe race played a factor in the police killing of George Floyd, a black man whose death in Minneapolis has sparked two weeks of protests and calls for police reform.

Speaking with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Cuccinelli referred to former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin as a "bully" but added that he saw no racial implications in the video of Floyd's arrest, which showed Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while the unarmed man says he can't breathe.

"What I heard in that 8 1/2 minute clip was someone who was a bully, who is abusing his position of authority and power in the law," Cuccinelli said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"And I have a funny feeling, I don't know anything about his professional history, but I have a feeling that we're going to find that he wasn't necessarily that well thought of as a role model among law enforcement through the time of his career, to say the least," he added.

Four officers are now facing charges related to Floyd's death, including Chauvin, whose case was upgraded to second-degree murder after state Attorney General Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonOmar seeks to fend off late surge from primary challenger Republican lawmakers say Minnesota mask order violates state law against hiding identity Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism MORE (D) took control of the investigation.

Demonstrations have erupted around the country, as well as internationally, in response to Floyd's death. Many elected officials have publicly indicated support for the protests and the wider Black Lives Matter movement in recent days, including Republicans such as Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Harris launch Trump offensive in first joint appearance Ron Johnson signals some GOP senators concerned about his Obama-era probes Davis: The Hall of Shame for GOP senators who remain silent on Donald Trump MORE (Utah), who marched with protesters in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.

"There are individuals who are racist, they're a small number," Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general, told CNN. "I would suggest that a bigger problem that can be filtered and trained for is simply bullying."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE is reportedly considering addressing the nation in response to the protests after his calls for state leaders and the military to respond forcefully to demonstrations have been blasted by members of both parties.