Trump’s event at a conservative, evangelical and predominantly white church in Dallas on Thursday afternoon came as the White House has yet to announce what new measures it might support in response to the protests against racial injustice that have gripped the nation since the killing of George Floyd by a police officer.
“But we’ll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist or bigots,” the president said.
He has largely criticized the protests that took place in cities across the United States, including Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed. Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Walz activated its National Guard after three nights of protests and violent riots; on Thursday, Walz endorsed a package of sweeping police reforms.
In response to the national reckoning over police brutality and America’s systemic racism, Democrats unveiled sweeping police reform legislation, and Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only black Republican member of the Senate, is spearheading proposals in his chamber.
Trump offered some broad outlines of the steps he might embrace to answer the national demand for action. He told the roundtable participants he was working on an executive order to “encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force, including tactics for de-escalation.”
He defended police officers and slammed calls to “defund” them, saying it means people want to get rid of law enforcement. Most advocates use the term to mean the reallocation of police budgets to social services including housing and education.
“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 job, they’ll do a great job,” Trump said. “And you always have a bad apple. No matter where you go, you have bad apples and there not too many of them.”