Trump’s Police Reform Executive Order Gets Varied Response From Lawmakers

June 16, 2020 Updated: June 17, 2020

Lawmakers had varied responses to President Donald Trump’s executive order on policing, ranging from praise to harsh criticism, divided along party lines.

Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order on policing in an attempt to build trust between communities and law enforcement, following weeks of protests over the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis resident who died last month in police custody.

The order has three main components: more certification and credential requirements for officers, information sharing on officials who have been subject to excessive use of force complaints, and co-responder programs that will send health professionals alongside officers during certain situations.

The package would create a database to track officers who have multiple instances of misconduct and would also use federal grants to incentivize departments to meet certain standards, according to a senior White House official in the call with reporters.

Democrats criticized the order, saying it’s not enough to change the law enforcement system.

“Trump’s executive order does not go nearly far enough to create the kind of change our country is demanding to see. Americans are taking to the streets in all 50 states for widespread, systemic changes to our system of policing. We must sign into law our Justice in Policing Act,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Booker, who ran for the 2020 presidential election before dropping out, is referring to Democrats’ effort to advance the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act legislation, which would completely ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, require police to wear bodycams, demilitarizes the police, seek to end racial profiling, limit qualified immunity, create a police misconduct database and make lynching a federal crime.

Meanwhile, Republicans praised Trump’s order as an effort to honor those who have been affected by police brutality while also respecting police professionals.

“Today’s action by President Trump marks the first step in helping our cops serve their communities better;  better training, more transparency, new accountability, these are meaningful solutions, as opposed to Democrats’ push to defund the police and stoke anarchy,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Republicans are gearing up to introduce their own police reform legislation which seeks to not only reform some dangerous police practices but aims to collect national data on police use of force and no-knock warrants.

“Thank you, @POTUS @realDonaldTrump, for your leadership in addressing police reforms. The solution isn’t to ‘defund the police,’ it is to provide more support and accountability. With today’s executive order we’re taking a strong step to enhance training and communication,” said Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.).

Lawmakers have been forced to address police brutality and use of force by protestors demanding change, which was triggered by Floyd’s death. The Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on police reform Tuesday, in an effort to reform outdated police practices.

Republicans oppose the growing calls to defund and dismantle police departments and Trump has repeatedly said he opposes dismantling or defunding the police.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also criticized the order, saying in a statement: “The Executive Order lacks meaningful, mandatory accountability measures to end misconduct.”

Rep. Suzan Delbene (D-Wash.) also criticized Trump’s efforts as insincere and not going far enough to reform the system.

“President Trump’s #executiveorder today is a narrow attempt to placate people protesting for reform while doing little to change our law enforcement system,” she said.