Former President George W. Bush and Senator Ted Cruz say violence related to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis is taking away from the message of peaceful protesters.
Cruz and the former president made separate statements Tuesday.
Bush says he had resisted the urge to speak out sooner, writing, "this is not the time for us to lecture. It is time for us to listen." He says America's greatest challenge has long been to unite people of different backgrounds. He says the habits of racial superiority once nearly split the country and "still threaten our Union."
"The heroes of America -- from Frederick Douglas, to Harriet Tubman, to Abraham Lincoln, to Martin Luther King, Jr. -- are heroes of unity. Their calling has never been for the fainthearted. They often revealed the nation's disturbing bigotry and exploitation -- stains on our character sometimes difficult for the American majority to imagine," Bush writes.
Cruz says political leaders, including President Trump, governors and mayors have a duty to "protect the American people, and stop this rioting now."
"Violence and the terrorism we're seeing across the country is unacceptable. It is wrong," Cruz says. "Everyone has a right to speak. You have a right to speak peaceably and exercise the first amendment. What you don't have a right to do is engage in violence. What you don't have a right to do is loot stores. What you don't have a right to do is shatter store windows. What you don't have a right to do is light police cars on fire."
Cruz does say there is "no legitimate law enforcement purpose for what we saw" in the case of George Floyd. He says people should now trust the criminal justice system to hold the officers accountable.