President Donald Trump denounced what he calls the “anti-cop crusade” and asserted his administration’s “pro-safety, pro-police, and anti-crime” stance on Monday at a roundtable where Americans shared stories about how they and their families have been helped by law enforcement.
“Far-left mayors are escalating the anti-cop crusade, and violent crime is spiraling in their cities,” Trump said. “It’s all far-left cities where they have no understanding of what has to be done.”
He noted that “radical politicians” who want to defund and abolish the police have “defamed our law enforcement heroes as ‘the enemy,'” and noted that efforts pushing to defund and abolish law enforcement appears to be happening in “many, many Democrat-run areas.”
Trump gave the example of Minneapolis, where its city council on June 26 voted 12-0 to approve plans to submit to voters a proposal (pdf) to amend the city charter to allow for the police department to be dismantled.
“In Minneapolis, the city voted to disband the police department and cut it way down, but disband it ultimately,” Trump said. “The radical politicians are waging war on innocent Americans. That’s what you’re doing when you play with the police.”
The president said that his administration is “pro-safety, pro-police, and anti-crime.”
Trump condemned the recent shootings in New York, where there was a 358 percent increase in shootings in a week in June—from just 12 in 2019 to 55 in 2020.
Trump also slammed shootings in Chicago as “worse than Afghanistan”—a comparison he also recently made in a letter to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D). The Fourth of July weekend saw at least 87 shootings and 17 killed in Chicago.
“We’re not supposed to—you’re supposed to wait for them to call, but they don’t call. We’ve asked Chicago, ‘Would you like us to go in and help?’ And they don’t want to say anything,” Trump said of the city.
Trump vowed that his administration will bring numbers of shootings down “even if we have to go in and take over cities, because we can’t let that happen.”
A number of Americans who were invited to the White House on Monday shared stories at the roundtable about how they have been helped by law enforcement officers. A number of law enforcement officers and other individuals in support of law enforcement were also present at the roundtable.
Kemira Boyd from Charleston, South Carolina, shared a story from 2019 of how Deputy William Kimbro from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office helped her baby daughter survive after the baby had trouble breathing while choking on breast milk. Kimbro later became the godfather to Boyd’s daughter.
Sara Bohon from Roanoke, Virginia, shared how her autistic, nonverbal son Spencer went missing one night in late June, and police officers helped locate him within 12 minutes with the help of search dogs.
Kenneth Bearden from Louisville, Kentucky, said that he had overdosed on various substances over 30 times from the age of 11 to 24. In at least a dozen of the overdoses, police officers came to administer Narcan, which Bearden said helped save his life.
“My son would not have his father today if it wasn’t for the police officers, the men and the women who administered that Narcan,” Bearden, who is six years sober, said.
Rhonda Norris shared about how she was hit at an intersection by a truck that ran a red light, and remembered seeing a policeman reaching through a shattered car window and checking her pulse.
The policeman continuously urged her to stay conscious, Norris recounted. He also followed the ambulance to the hospital and transported Norris’s personal belongings at the accident to her husband at the hospital. It turned out that the officer, a state trooper, was off duty.
“He didn’t have to do any of that. He was—just happened to be at the scene of the accident, and immediately responded and sped up my rescue. And I’m eternally grateful to him for doing that,” Norris said.
One mother, identified as Ms. Young, shared how her 15-year-old daughter was trafficked by MS-13 gang members about eight years ago.
“Law enforcement played a fundamental role in the rescue and the recovery of our daughter and were also vital in the protection and safety of our family, both then and now,” she said.
“The law enforcement is crucial to the rescue, to victims of human trafficking, and I believe we should support them with everything we have,” she added.
Jakebia Northcutt shared about how a man was trying to kidnap her child at a hotel in Tampa, Florida, when an off-duty deputy officer from Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office intervened and helped separate the man from the child.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done if you hadn’t come help me,” Northcutt told Deputy Corey Reece, the officer who helped her, who was also in attendance at the roundtable. “So I just want to thank you.”
‘More Support’ For Law Enforcement: Barr
Attorney General William Barr in remarks to the roundtable said that the jobs police face “have never been more difficult than it is today.”
“Today, we suffer many unprecedented social ills: kids growing up without fathers; alienated young, angry men; gangs engaged in the most brutal kinds of violence; increasing mental illness and homelessness; and a drug epidemic inflicting casualties beyond anything that we’ve experienced in a major war; and an increase in sexual assaults and child exploitation. You name it,” he said.
“And who is expected to deal with all of this? As other institutions fail and abdicate their responsibility, who is expected to stand their ground and pick up the pieces? The police are.”
Barr acknowledged that the death of George Floyd in late May in Minneapolis “was ghastly, and I haven’t heard anyone attempt to defend it. And it has rightly brought about an urge to make sure that we continue reforming and we finish the job.”
“I think that law enforcement understands and agrees that the concerns of the African American community regarding excessive use of force must be addressed. But we also have to be careful and not throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said, adding that the push to “defund the police” is an extremist one that is “trying to pull us in exactly the opposite direction of where we have to go.”
“We have to give law enforcement more support, more training and resources,” Barr said. “And I think the executive order that the President signed last month strikes exactly the right balance: It’s supportive of the police, and it also addresses legitimate concerns about excessive force.”