President Donald Trump said on Thursday in Dallas, Texas, that he is finalizing an executive order on police reform.
“We’re working to finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for de-escalation,” Trump said at a roundtable with law enforcement, faith leaders, and small business owners at Gateway Church in Dallas.
“Also, we’ll encourage pilot programs that allow social workers to join certain law enforcement officers so that they work together,” he said.
“We’ll take care of our police. We’re not defunding police—if anything, we’re going the other route. We’re going to make sure our police are well trained, perfectly trained, [and that] they have the best equipment,” the president continued, to applause.
Trump later clarified the idea of encouraging police departments to “meet the most current professional standards of force.”
“That means force, but force with compassion,” he said. “But if you’re going to have to really do a job, if somebody’s really bad, you’re going to have to do it with real strength, real power.”
“That means force, but force with compassion.”
“And I said—and people said ‘Oh, I don’t know if we like that expression’—I said, we have to dominate the streets.
“What happened in New York City, the damage they’ve done … you can’t let that happen,” the president said, to prolonged applause and cheering. “You have to dominate the street.”
“And I was criticized for that statement. … Well, guess what, you know who dominated the streets? People who you don’t want to dominate the streets, and look at the damage they did.”
Trump expressed his incredulity at the far-left’s idea of defunding the police.
“I’m thinking, what happens late at night when you make that call to 911 and there’s nobody there? What do you do?” Trump said. “Whether you’re white, black, or anybody else, you’re dialling, and there’s somebody breaking into a house, and happens to be a violent person.
“We’re going to have stronger police forces because that’s what you need,” Trump said.
He said what was needed in America was for all levels of government to “invest more energy and resources in police training and recruiting and community engagement.”
“We have to respect our police, we have to take care of our police. They’re protecting us and if they’re allowed to do their jobs, they’d do a great job,” he added.
Top Republicans and Democrats—including Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden— have expressed bipartisan opposition to the idea of defunding local and state police forces across the nation.
The idea to defund the police appears to have broad support by both violent extremists and those among the peaceful protesters in nationwide demonstrations after the death of George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis. The idea has been promoted by far-left Democrats including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).
Floyd died in police custody during an arrest where a police officer pushed his knee onto Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, is facing second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
“You always have a bad apple no matter where you go, you have bad apples. They’re not too many of them and I can tell you they’re not too many of them in the police department. We all know a lot of members in the police,” Trump said on Thursday.
He added, “Americans are good and virtuous people. We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear. But we’ll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots. We have to get everybody together, we have to be in the same path.”
The executive order on police reform and the pilot programs to have social workers join law enforcement officers were two of four steps Trump announced on Thursday “to build safety, opportunity, and dignity.”
The other two included helping economic development in minority communities by increasing access to capital for minority-owned small businesses, and addressing healthcare disparities by investing “substantial sums” in minority-serving medical institutions.
Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.