Joe Biden is planning to meet privately Monday with George Floyd’s family in Houston, offering condolences in the aftermath of a killing that launched nationwide protests over police brutality and systemic racism.
Biden is also recording a video message that will play at the funeral service, according to his campaign. He is not planning to attend the service himself, citing his Secret Service detail and not wanting to disrupt the service.
The trip to Houston came after several days of internal discussions over what role the former vice president should play in the funeral services. Over the course of his career, he has delivered eulogies for a wide variety of people.
Benjamin Crump, attorney for the Floyd family, said last week that Biden was planning to attend the Tuesday service.
The country has seen nationwide demonstrations in the last week, ignited after Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis. There was a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis on Thursday, and a second service on Saturday near Fayetteville, N.C., where he was born.
There is a public viewing on Monday in Houston, followed by a funeral on Tuesday.
Biden, whose plans to meet with the family on Monday was first reported by the New York Times, has spoken several times about the killing, saying that it is time for the country to deal with systemic racism and that he will be announcing several new policies. On Friday, he sharply denounced President Donald Trump for dishonoring Floyd as he celebrated a new jobs report.
“George Floyd’s last words – ‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe’ – have echoed all across our nation,” said Biden, speaking at historically black Delaware State University in Dover. “For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd – is frankly despicable.”
Biden was referring to remarks made earlier in the day when Trump suggested that new Labor Department statistics showing a slight improvement in employment marked a “great day” for Floyd, whose memorial was Thursday.
“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this a great thing that’s happening for our country,” Trump said. “There’s a great day for him. It’s a great day for everybody.”