By Lucia Leal
Washington DC, June 11 (efe-epa).- United States President Donald Trump entrenched himself in his fierce defense of the police Thursday and challenged the Democratic leaders of Washington state by threatening to intervene if they do not control an area from which security forces have withdrawn.
During a visit to Dallas, Texas to raise funds for his re-election, Trump announced that he will sign an executive order to “encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force.”
“That means force, but force with compassion. But if you’re going to have to really do a job, if somebody is really bad, you’re going to have to do it with real strength, with real power,” Trump said during a roundtable with small business owners, law enforcement representatives and religious leaders.
Trump’s comments made it clear that he does not support a significant reform of police tactics, as requested by many activists and the Democratic opposition in the wake of the outrage unleashed by the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“If they are allowed to do their job, they will do a great job,” Trump said of police officers, adding: “You always have a bad apple no matter where you go. You have bad apples. There are not too many of them, and I can tell you there are not too many of them in the police department.”
“We’re not defunding police (as demanded by many protesters). If anything we’re going the other route, we’re going to make sure that our police are well-trained, perfectly trained and have the best equipment… We’re going to have stronger police forces because that’s what you need,” he stressed.
Trump thus reinforced his motto of “LAW & ORDER!” which he often tweets and with which he has responded to the protests against police brutality against minorities and, far from recognizing racism in the country, he asked for those accusations to be left behind.
“Americans are good and virtuous people. We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear, but we will make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots,” Trump said.
The president said that, when that happens, “we get off-subject and we start thinking about things that don’t matter or don’t matter much,” in apparent reference to the debate about whether racism in the US is systemic, a belief that has been rejected by some of Trump’s advisers, such as Larry Kudlow.
Trump said his plan to improve race relations is based on four points, including the decree he is preparing on the use of force in police departments, the impact of which could be limited because the power to regulate those agencies depends largely on state and local governments.
The other steps he cited were enhancing economic development in minority communities, combating health care disparities and improving school choice options.
Trump warned that if his motto of “LAW & ORDER!” is not embraced, “anarchists” can take over cities, citing the example of Seattle, where police have withdrawn from a precinct in the east of the city after days of clashes during the protests.
Protesters have since occupied the area and dubbed it “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” a place where police are prohibited, food is free, and documentaries are shown at night, according to The Washington Post.
Trump reacted angrily Thursday, demanding that Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, both Democrats, “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will.”
Inslee responded shortly afterwards that he “will not allow… threats of military violence against Washingtonians coming from the White House” given that Trump has threatened several times this month to activate a law that would allow him to deploy soldiers without the approval of governors.
Meanwhile, Trump will give his big speech to officially accept the nomination of the Republican Party for the November presidential election on Aug. 27 in Jacksonville, Florida, instead of Charlotte, North Carolina, as local authorities did not want the massive event held there amid the coronavirus epidemic.
The convention will take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, with a capacity of 15,000 people, according to the Republican Party, which did not detail what measures will be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
As a swing state, Florida could be key to the election.
According to the average of polls prepared by the Real Clear Politics website, Democrat nominee Joe Biden would get 49 percent of the votes right now compared to Trump’s 41 percent. EFE-EPA