On Monday night, President Trump threatened to deploy the US military against protesters in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man who died last week while in police custody. A video of Floyd’s arrest showed a police officer forcing his knee onto the victim’s neck for more than eight minutes, which has prompted a series of peaceful and violent protests across America and numerous clashes between protesters and police authorities.
The officer, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, was dismissed last week and has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Six-time F1 world champion Hamilton was one of many sports athletes to speak out over racial injustice and called on his own peers in the sport to use their platforms to do the same, which prompted a series of social media posts from the likes of Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo to show support for the Black Lives Matter campaign.
But Hamilton has now turned his attention towards President Trump, who continues to attract growing criticism for his failure to bring peace across the US. Instead, Trump encouraged governors on a conference call from the White House basement to aggressively target protesters, adding “you have to dominate or you'll look like a bunch of jerks, you have to arrest and try people”.
In response, Hamilton posted a viral image of the White House with the lights turned off, taken during protests on Sunday night, along with the message: “This is the visual that will define Trump. 100,000 dead, 40 million unemployed, cities under attack by violent police.
“When his country needed a leader, Donald Trump turned off the lights and hid in his bunker.”
Hamilton has taken a proactive stance towards racial injustice, having previously called out the sport of Formula One for the lack of black drivers and team personnel. He is the only black driver to win the F1 world championship, with just one other black man testing for a seat in the form of American racer Willy T Ribbs who drove a Brabham in 1986.
On Sunday night, Hamilton spoke out against the silence from the sport on the death of George Floyd. He wrote on Instagram: "I see those of you who are staying silent, some of you the biggest of stars yet you stay silent in the midst of injustice.
"Not a sign from anybody in my industry which of course is a white dominated sport. I'm one of the only people of colour there yet I stand alone. I would have thought by now you would see why this happens and say something about it but you can't stand alongside us. Just know I know who you ... are and I see you."
Hamilton added: “I do not stand with those looting and burning buildings but those who are protesting peacefully. There can be no peace until our so called leaders make change."
Following his outburst, fellow drivers Ricciardo, Leclerc and Lando Norris all posted messages of support for the campaign and spoke out against racial inequality, with Nicholas Latifi, George Russell, Carlos Sainz and Sergio Perez following suit.