President Trump on Tuesday defended police departments across the country, saying that American has many great, extremely talented law enforcement officers.”
“Americans know the truth. Without police there is chaos … and anarchy,” Trump said in a Rose Garden event at the White House, flanked by police officers from across the nation.
“Americans believe we must support the brave Americans in blue who … keep us safe,” the president said, calling for “more resources” for police training and recruiting. “These are not opposite goals, they are not mutually exclusive,” he said. “They all work together.”
But in a move to address racial rancor after the Memorial Day death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, Trump also banned the use of chokeholds (except in life or death situations) and announced new requirements for police.
Trump said that, under a new credentialing process, chokeholds will be banned “except if an officer’s life is at risk.” Chokeholds are already largely banned in police departments nationwide.
An executive order Trump signed at the White House will establish a database that tracks police officers who draw complaints about excessive use of force in their records. The order also establishes a national credentialing system that will give police departments a financial incentive to adopt best practices.
“To all of the hurting families, I want you to know that all Americans mourn by your side,” Trump said. “Your loved ones will not have died in vain.”
Trump said he met with several families who members in deadly encounters with police officers, including the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Antwon Rose and Everett Palmer. “I can never imagine your pain or the depth of your anguish, but I can promise to fight for justice for all of our people,” Trump said.
Despite the executive order, Trump made clear in his remarks that he is still the “law and order” president.
“We have to find common ground. But I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to [defund], dismantle and dissolve our police departments, especially now when we achieved the lowest recorded crime rates in recent history,” Trump said, arguing that more resources are needed, not less.