Trump Celebrates Police, Targets ‘Unfair Defamation,’ ‘Hostility And Violence’

Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald Trump urged the nation on Monday “to work with our cops, not against them,” lauding police and issuing a veiled criticism to protest movements against police brutality.

Trump used most of his remarks to the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service to celebrate law enforcement for their contributions to society, saying it was “the personal priority of my administration to ensure that our police are finally treated fairly, with honor and respect that they deserve.”

“To all Americans watching this event today,” he continued, “next time you see a cop on the beat, take a moment to say two wonderful words which they so readily deserve: Thank you.”

Still, parts of the speech emphasized a common theme in his campaign for President and young administration — that those who protest police brutality are responsible for violence against law enforcement and declines in public safety.

“We are living through an era in which our police have been subject to unfair defamation and vilification,” he said, adding: “Even worse, hostility and violence. More officers were slain last year in ambushes than in any year more than two decades.”

He appeared to be citing data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks law enforcement fatalities.

“It is time to work with our cops, not against them,” he said later. “But to support them in making our streets safe — not to obstruct them, which we are doing. We obstruct them. It is time for all Americans from all parties and beliefs to join together in a simple goal to ensure that every child in America has the right to grow up in safety, security and peace.”

Earlier on Monday, according to a pool report, Trump declared May 15 Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 14-May 20 Police Week. He also said he would order the White House be lit in blue to honor law enforcement, and asked elected officials nationwide to fly flags at half-staff to mark the day.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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