President Trump stood up for hero police officers on Monday, criticizing an “anti-cop crusade” by Democrats that he said is causing a crime wave in major cities, and vowing to send in federal reinforcements to cities where violence is out of control.
“Violent crime is spiraling in their cities,” Mr. Trump said at a White House event. “It’s all far-left cities where they have no understanding of what has to be done. If that’s what you want for a country, you probably have to vote for ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden, because he doesn’t know what’s happening. But you’re not going to have it with me.”
Mr. Trump signaled that his administration is planning to take aggressive law-enforcement action in more cities such as Kansas City, Missouri, where the Justice Department last week announced a surge of federal agents to suppress a wave of violence that has included at least 99 killings this year.
“We’re going to be doing things that you’ll be very impressed with,” the president told law enforcement officials at a White House meeting. “Numbers are going to be coming down, even if we have to go in and take over cities, because we can’t let that happen. When you have 20 people killed, 22 people killed in one weekend in Chicago, when you have 88 shootings, it’s not even conceivable. That’s worse than any war zone we’re in, by a lot. We’re not going to let it go on.”
He said he’s tired of waiting for local officials to ask Washington for help.
“We’re supposed to wait for them to call, but they don’t call,” Mr. Trump said. “We’ve asked Chicago, would you like us to go in and help? And they don’t want to say anything. We’ve called many of the cities … We’ve done a great job in Portland [Oregon]. Portland was totally out of control. We very much quelled it.”
The president noted a rise in shootings in the past two months in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Minneapolis, including incidents in which police officers have been killed. He said it’s coincided with a movement by the Left to defund police departments during demonstrations over racial injustice.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the rise in gun violence could be blamed, at least partly, on the coronavirus pandemic.
“The ecosystem of public safety that isn’t just law enforcement but is local, community-based, they too, have really been hit hard by COVID and are now just kind of coming back online and getting their footing,” Ms. Lightfoot said.
Homicides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are up 37% this year; killings are up 23% in New York and 11% in Los Angeles.
Mr. Trump also criticized New York City officials, saying that shootings in there rose 358% in one recent week, compared with the same period last year.
“And yet they spend all their time [painting] Black Lives Matter signs outside of Trump Tower,” Mr. Trump said. “They ought to spend their time doing something else. New York City is out of control. Unfortunately, my place, I love it, but it’s out of control.”
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also called attention to the killings of two police officers last weekend in McAllen, Texas, who were responding to a domestic disturbance. She said Officers Edelmiro Garza, Jr., and Ismael Chavez, were “ambushed.”
“Our officers have been under vicious assault,” the president said. “Reckless politicians have defamed our law enforcement heroes as the enemy. The radical politicians are waging war on innocent Americans — that’s what you’re doing when you play with the police.”
Mr. Trump hosted a meeting with law enforcement officers and people who’ve been helped by them. One mother, Kamira Boyd of Charleston, South Carolina, described how her 12-day-old daughter was saved by an officer who performed CPR on her.
“He just took her from my arms and proceeded helping her,” Ms. Boyd told the president.
The officer, Berkeley County Deputy sheriff William Kimbro, said he encountered the desperate family when he pulled them over for speeding in July 2019. He described his actions to save the baby, and noted that he has become the child’s godfather.
“We’ve been blessed,” Mr. Kimbro said. “It’s been a wonderful experience.”
In a question-and-answer with reporters later, Mr. Trump turned to the improving economy and the rising stock market, saying Mr. Biden “doesn’t have the capability” to manage a recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
“I will tell you, if Biden got in, this economy would be destroyed,” Mr. Trump said. “He was in office for 48 years, and what he did was not great. Almost every decision was a wrong decision. And now he’s going to come in and try and help us? We don’t need any help.”