Trump claims he 'dominated streets with compassion' and announces new policing plan in black communities

President floats order to 'encourage' police departments to meet 'current' federal standards – but does not vow higher ones for officers

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Thursday 11 June 2020 23:22 BST
Trump claims he 'dominated streets with compassion' and announces new policing plan in black communities

Donald Trump announced a number of steps his administration is planning that are aimed at improving policing in black communities even as he hailed the National Guard for displacing protesters "like a knife through butter."

The president laid out several possible coming steps – he opted against using an event in Dallas to sign an executive order codifying any policing enhancements he could without Congress's approval – even as he said Seattle officials could take back a portion of that city controlled by protesters using force. He claimed his administration has "dominated the streets with compassion" even as National Guard forces and federal officers have, at times, used force to quell protests.

Mr Trump continued to seem split between taking action to curb a pattern of black men dying while in police custody or while interacting with officers and placating his conservative voting base, which is pro-law enforcement.

He announced his administration is planning undefined moves to help increase investment in minority communities, especially trying to boost black-owned small businesses. A user of bold adjectives and verbs, the president vowed to do so "very powerfully."

Mr Trump also promised "substantial sums" of funds for medical facilities that serve minority communities, saying the country has medical clinics in some areas "that a disgrace."

On helping small businesses, the Republican chief executive said: "It should have been done a long time ago." On the medical facilities, he declared he will "take care of it."

He has been in office for over three years. His administration has not undertaken any of the steps he mentioned on Thursday.

Among them: Action to "encourage" police departments across the country to meet "current" standards on things like deescalating tense moments in minority interactions and communities, and "pilot programmes" intended to have social workers "join officers ... so they work together."

Notably, he did not mention any new federal standards he might have the power to enact without lawmakers or that he intends to enact via an executive order he described but gave no date for when he might sign it.

He also took a shot at activists and some Democratic officials who launched the "defund the police" movement amid protests of George Floyd's death – only to earlier this week say they merely want to cut funding and reform policing tactics.

"We're not defunding the police," he said of the actions he described, "we're going the other route," promising "well-trained" officers who "have the best equipment."

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