May 15, 2017
Trump promises law enforcement officers: ‘We will protect you’
President Trump on Monday blasted those who subject police officers to "hostility and violence" while promising to draw a "bright line in the sand" to protect law enforcement across the country.
"Our police have been subject to unfair defamation and vilification and — really, you see what’s going on — even worse, hostility and violence," Trump said during an event on the Capitol steps at the National Peace Officer’s Memorial Service.
"You are entitled to leadership at the highest level that will draw a bright line in the sand, not a red line in the sand that isn’t gone over, but a bright line in the sand, and we will protect you.”
The president called it a "personal priority" to help foster respect for law enforcement in America, criticizing those who use the "reckless words of incitement that give rise to danger and give rise to incitement" and arguing that some people might not believe it's politically correct to stand with the police.
That's similar to the language that he used during his presidential campaign, when he lamented a “war on police” and defended officers against accusations of police misconduct in high-profile officer-involved shootings.
"True social justice means a future where every child in every neighborhood can play outside without fear, can walk home safely from school and live out the beautiful dreams that build their heart," Trump said, a clear callout to conservatives who chide "social justice warriors" that have questioned police conduct in controversial incidents.
Framing an attack on officers as a "wound inflicted on the whole country," Trump praised the sacrifices made by police officers around the country.
He called out to 6-year-old Micah Glasser, whose father, David, died last year in the line of duty as a Phoenix police officer. Removing a white "USA" hat from the podium, Trump called out to Micah and threw him the hat.
"He has my hat and he’s now with us," Trump said as he asked Micah and his mother, Kristen, to stand up to be recognized.
Trump mentioned the support he received from police unions during the presidential race. The Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Trump in 2016, while criticizing Democrat Hillary Clinton for not seeking its endorsement.
"You'll always find an open door at the White House, and you've already found it, believe me," he said after highlighting FOP leadership.
"I will always support the incredible men and women of law enforcement as much as you have always supported me, and you did, big league," he added.
The speech comes at the start of "Police Week."
During an Oval Office event earlier on Monday, Trump marked the day as “Peace Officer Memorial Day” and named the full week “Police Week.” He also announced that the White House will be lit in blue lights to honor officers and asked governors to fly the American flag at half-mast on Monday.
Trump attended the event flanked by top members of his administration, including Vice President Pence, Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who issued a memo last week advising prosecutors to seek the heavier penalties in criminal cases.