President Trump warns against falsely labeling ‘tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots’ at a Dallas roundtable in the wake of George Floyd’s death
- Trump warned against labelling ‘decent Americans’ as ‘racists or bigots’
- He said it is unfair to broadly paint police officers as bigots but admitted there were some ‘bad apples’
- His comments came at a roundtable discussion with police union officials and allies from the African American community
President Donald Trump warned against ‘falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots’ during a roundtable discussing ‘justice disparities’.
The event at Gateway Church in Dallas, Texas on Thursday evening saw the president gather with police union officials and allies from the African American community, including a member of Black Voices for Trump.
‘We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear,’ Trump said.
Donald Trump hosts a roundtable with faith leaders, law enforcement officials, and small business owners at Gateway Church Dallas Campus in Dallas, Texas, on June 11
‘But we’ll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots.’
The president said the nation also needs to bolster its efforts to confront its long-simmering racial relations problems by focusing on inequality, redoubling on his contention that solving economic issues is the fastest way to healing racial wounds.
It comes as the country continues to rally against police brutality following the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer last month.
President Trump said during the discussion he would pursue an executive order to encourage police departments to meet ‘current professional standards for the use of force,’ while accusing Democrats of broadly branding police as the problem.
He also defended his calls on governors and mayors to aggressively quell violent protests that erupted across the country after the death of George Floyd, boasting, ‘We’re dominating the street with compassion.’
The president said the nation also needs to bolster its efforts to confront its long-simmering racial relations problems by focusing on inequality, redoubling on his contention that solving economic issues is the fastest way to healing racial wounds
Trump offered few details about the yet-to-be-formalized order during the discussion on race relations and policing. The call for establishing a national use-of-force standard amounted to his first concrete proposal for police reform in response to the national outcry following Floyd’s death in a violent encounter with Minneapolis police.
The president also acknowledged that law enforcement may have some ‘bad apples,’ but he said it is unfair to broadly paint police officers as bigots.
He said his administration would aggressively pursue economic development in minority communities, confront health care disparities by investing ‘substantial sums’ in minority-serving medical institutions, and improve school choice options.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown and Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot did not receive invitations to the event, according to their offices. Mayor Eric Johnson was invited but did not attend because of prior commitments, according to an aide.
A senior administration official who briefed reporters ahead of Trump’s trip noted other law enforcement officials were in attendance but did not directly respond to a question about why the three officials weren’t invited.
Democrats on Capitol Hill have unveiled sweeping police reform legislation, including provisions to ban choke holds and limit legal protections for police. Congressional Republicans say they are also open to some reforms, including a national registry of use-of-force incidents so police officers cannot transfer between departments without public awareness of their records.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and senior adviser Jared Kushner have been discussing possible packages with GOP lawmakers, but it’s unclear what the president himself would be willing to accept.
Trump, for his part, lashed at some in the Democratic party who have called for ‘defunding the police,’ a broad call to reframe thinking about how communities should approach public safety.
‘Unfortunately there’s some trying to stoke division and to push an extreme agenda, which we won’t go for, that will produce only more poverty, more crime, more suffering,’ Trump said.
Protesters hold placards near Gateway Church Dallas Campus as Trump arrives for a roundtable
Glenn Heights, Texas, Police Chief Vernell Dooley urged Trump to increase resources to provide police with more training. ‘We need training,’ Dooley said. ‘This is not the time to defund police departments.’
Attorney General William Barr, who accompanied Trump to the event, backed up the president’s emphasis on law and order. Barr said what happened to Floyd shouldn’t obscure the fact that police offers are decent people ‘who put their lives on the line for us.’
‘We can’t let this event obscure the fact that the real oppression and danger to our communities comes more from violent crime and lawlessness than it does from the police,’ Barr said.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, dismissed Trump’s Dallas visit in advance as a ‘photo op’ and charged that the president has ‘run away from a meaningful conversation on systemic racism and police brutality.’
Trump, whose campaign effort has been largely sidelined by the coronavirus, also held a high-dollar fundraiser during his visit to Dallas. The intimate event for about 25 supporters was expected to raise $10 million to be split between his campaign, the Republican National Committee and 22 state parties, according to a GOP official.