Trump insists police will not be defunded amid growing movement across the US

President might lack authority to overturn any state or local decisions, however

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Monday 08 June 2020 22:05
Joe Biden condemns Donald Trump for George Floyd remarks

Donald Trump dismissed a movement among some activists and Democratic lawmakers to "defund the police" in the wake of George Floyd's death while in police custody.

"There won't be de-funding. There won't be dismantling of our police. And there is not going to be any disbanding of our police," he said during a meeting with law enforcement officials at the White House.

As he often does when weighing in on state and local issues, the president did not cite any law that might give him the authority to override a decision by a mayor, governor, city council or state legislature.

His comments came as some senior House and Senate Democrats opted against condemning some of the political left calling for police departments to either be stripped of funding or abolished. Leaders of the "defund the police" movement have spent most of Monday trying to explain they want to reduce police funding and direct those monies to social programmes to help troubled young people.

But the name those activists chose for the movement has given Mr Trump and his team ample kindling to try starting a political fire to fire up his conservative base.

The Minneapolis city council has approved a measure to dismantle its police department after Mr Floyd, a black man, was killed by a white officer.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said in a statement he opposes cutting police funding as he and Mr Trump vie for crucial voting blocs like suburban women.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tried to explain the movement is about how taxpayer funds are spent and "changing policies to make sure our policing is more just."

"But those are local decisions," the California Democrat said.

Attorney General William Barr, during the same event, said he has talked to law enforcement officials who want clarification on standards under which their officers should use force.

A majority of Americans, according to several polls, disapprove of Mr Trump's handling of the Floyd death and subsequent protests around the country.

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