President Obama's reaction to events in Ferguson, Missouri has been "disgusting" and a display of “overwhelming hypocrisy”, according to Cornel West.
Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight on Tuesday, the philosopher and academic decried the president's response to events in the St Louis suburb following the shooting of Michael Brown, saying his words “reek of political calculation rather than moral conviction”.
“Bear in mind, he [Obama] put out a statement on the death of Robin Williams… before he put out a statement on brother Michael Brown,” excoriated West, adding: “It’s disgusting to have a black president who is unable to keep track about what’s happening among the young black youth.”
When asked about the looting that has been a feature of the riots, West said it was wrong, however added that if there was "any semblance of a just process, a semblance of transparency, you wouldn’t have the young brothers and sister out there throwing the Molotov cocktails.”
The president has been heavily criticized in the US for his lack of passion on the issue of Ferguson, having said little on events in Missouri, other than to confirm Attorney General Eric Holder was to travel to St Louis.
According to Vox, the White House appears to have concluded that Obama has become such a divisive figure that anything he says on an issue, particularly one as potent as race, will only widen the rift between the protesters and the authorities.
West has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration, particularly on the issue of race. Last year, the author called Obama a "global George Zimmerman" in response to the president's attempt to rationalise the killing of innocent children in US drone strikes.