Donald Trump once again put on a show with little substance. His administration teased that the president would sign an executive order that would “uphold clear and high policing standards, promote accountability in law enforcement, and help equip police officers for constructive community engagement.” But in reality, little of that was offered.
So that was weird. And my GOP source was correct in that there was no substance in Trump’s “police reform” announcement. It was mainly a ramble, praising himself, attacking President Obama and Democratic mayors and droning about the economy while gushing over police and violence.
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) June 16, 2020
The Washington Post writes:
But it falls short of the more sweeping policy changes activists have called for.
Trump has tweeted “LAW AND ORDER” countless times over the last couple of weeks and it seems this was more of the same. CNN writes:
Trump said he was taking executive action to encourage police to adopt the “highest and the strongest” professional standards, even as he lambasted efforts to defund departments and said police were owed respect for their work.
One thing that also missed the mark was the president’s order on chokeholds. Trump said he would ban the use of chokeholds by police, “except if an officer’s life is at risk.” Former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro wrote:
Trump’s executive order on policing is nothing but window dressing, a stunt for his failing campaign. A ban on chokeholds with exceptions isn’t a ban on chokeholds. A voluntary misconduct database is powerless. More training won’t increase accountability.
Trump’s executive order is toothless and meaningless. We don’t need studies, we need police that commit crimes to be punished. All police that use chokeholds claim their lives were threatened, what’s new?
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) June 16, 2020
Trump also threw in what many say was a dog whistle.
Trump closed his speech ostensibly about systemic racism in policing with a subtle defense of the Confederacy, which fought on behalf of slavery: “We must build upon our heritage, not tear it down.” pic.twitter.com/sM2YxmHjdv
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 16, 2020
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued this statement about the order:
“The President’s weak Executive Order falls sadly and seriously short of what is required to combat the epidemic of racial injustice and police brutality that is murdering hundreds of Black Americans. The Executive Order lacks meaningful, mandatory accountability measures to end misconduct. During this moment of national anguish, we must insist on bold change, not meekly surrender to the bare minimum.”
Meanwhile, before Trump spoke, he met with some families whose loved ones had been killed by police. The group was reportedly supposed to appear with Trump in the Rose Garden after the meeting.
6 families + Lee Merritt all had a chance to really speak truth to power directly to Trump, to William Barr, & to police chiefs in the room. It was a serious 2 hours.
Each felt it was worth it, but also had the moral courage to refuse to be used as a prop for a photo op after.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) June 16, 2020
Earlier in the day, Lee Merritt told NBC News that he was “scheduled to join Trump and Attorney General William Barr in the Rose Garden on Tuesday for the signing ceremony.” But April Ryan, a reporter for the American Urban Radio Networks said Civil Rights leaders were “OUTRAGED after a late night Tuesday call where they learned that Lee Merritt & family members of Ahmaud Arbery are expected to be on hand at the #WhiteHouse for a photo op.” Merritt and the families clearly skipped the signing ceremony. Here’s what Merritt said.
Reports of a photo op with the president or standing with the White House during the EO signing are false.
Show me the civil rights leaders who are upset about families making a direct appeal for federal intervention after the murder of their loved one & I’ll show you a clown. pic.twitter.com/GXR5arB8Mz
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) June 16, 2020