WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Thursday he would pursue an executive order to encourage police departments to meet “current professional standards for the use of force," while accusing Democrats of broadly branding police as the problem.
He also defended his calls on governors and mayors to aggressively quell violent protests that erupted across the country after the death of George Floyd, boasting, “We’re dominating the street with compassion."
Trump offered few details about the yet-to-be-formalized order during a discussion on race relations and policing before a friendly audience in Dallas. The call for establishing a national use-of-force standard amounted to his first concrete proposal for police reform in response to the national outcry following Floyd's death in a violent encounter with Minneapolis police.
The president also acknowledged that law enforcement may have some “bad apples," but he said it is unfair to broadly paint police officers as bigots.
“We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear," Trump said. “But we’ll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racists or bigots."
The president said the nation also needs to bolster its efforts to confront its long-simmering racial relations problems by focusing on inequality, redoubling on his contention that solving economic issues is the fastest way to healing racial wounds.
He said his administration would aggressively pursue economic development in minority communities, confront health care disparities by investing “substantial sums” in minority-serving medical institutions, and improve school choice options.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown and Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot did not receive invitations to the event, according to their offices. Mayor Eric Johnson was invited but did not attend because of prior commitments, according to an aide.