President Donald Trump unequivocally dismissed demands from some protesters and politicians to defund police agencies amid widespread civil unrest and calls for sweeping law-enforcement reform.
He addressed the issue in a statement on Monday at the White House as well as in a series of social media posts.
“Some cities will want to try”
“There won’t be defunding, there won’t be dismantling of our police,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion with law enforcement officials, going on to denounce the small number of “bad actors” who need to be removed from the force.
While he said that it is worth considering whether police can do their jobs in “a much more gentle fashion,” he stressed that “we can’t give up the finest law enforcement anywhere in the world.”
Referencing an emerging effort to dismantle the police agency in Minneapolis and other locations, the president said that “some cities will want to try but it’s going to be a very, very sad situation.”
Adding to a string of all-caps tweets calling for “law & order” in recent days, Trump addressed such activism in a tweet on Monday.
“LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE,” he wrote. “The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!”
“Made clear months ago”
Democratic Party leaders have largely kept “defund the police” rhetoric at arms’ length while discussing police reform proposals. Presidential nominee Joe Biden has been generally more receptive to the demands of protesters, but made it clear that he does not support defunding police department.
In a statement, the Biden campaign referenced a “criminal justice proposal made clear months ago” for specifics while emphasizing that he “does not believe that police should be defunded” as part of those reforms.
“He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain,” the campaign added.
Most national leaders understand the concept of defunding police agencies could be politically toxic and have shied away from signing on with protesters on this point. Nevertheless, the president’s supporters are sure to see his tougher stance on crime as more appealing when Election Day comes.