President Trump rejected calls to disband or defund police departments, following a growing rallying cry movement to “defund the police” that has emerged from the nationwide protests in light of the death of George Floyd and now has gained the support among progressive lawmakers.
“We won’t be defunding our police. There won’t be dismantling of our police, and there’s not going to be any disbanding of our police. Our police have been letting us live in peace. These people do a tremendous job of protecting citizens of our country. But whether they were paid or not, that’s what they do,” Trump said during a meeting with law enforcement officers and police chiefs at the White House Monday afternoon.
“We want to make sure we don’t have any bad actors in there, and sometimes, you’ll see some horrible things like we witnessed recently, but 99 — I say 99.9, but let’s go with 99 percent of them are great, great people, and they’ve done jobs that are record setting,” Trump added.
The president stated the country’s current crime statistics are “among the best numbers we’ve ever had in terms of recorded history.”
“There’s a reason for less crime, it’s because we have great law enforcement. I’m very proud of them,” Trump stated.
Participants included Attorney Generals from Florida and Kentucky, the president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, National president of the Fraternal Order of Police and police representatives from Illinois and Colorado.
The roundtable comes after Minneapolis City Council announcing Sunday that it would disband the city’s police force and invest in community-based public safety programs.
“They want to end the police department — quote end the police department in Minneapolis. What does that mean? End it,” Trump said, noting he saw reports in the papers. “They abandoned their police precinct, something I’ve never seen before. You had a mayor that asked them to abandon, and now they’ve abandoned the mayor, it looks like.”
The roundtable also discussed ideas on how policing can be done “in a lot more gentle fashion.”
“We’re going to work and we’re going to talk about ideas, how we can do it better, and how we can do it, if possible, in a much more gentle fashion,” Trump said. “But we can’t give up the finest, law enforcement anywhere in the world is nothing like it. So we’re going to be discussing some ideas and some concepts and some things, but we won’t be defunding our police. I guess you might have some cities will want to try but it’s going to be very, very sad situation.”