- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2020

President Trump said at an event with Hispanic-American leaders Thursday that the leftist movement to defund police departments is threatening to “inflict great harm on our hard-working Latino communities.”

As he signed an executive order at the White House to expand business and educational opportunities for Hispanics, the president said the civil unrest that has gripped many U.S. cities imperils the gains they’ve made over generations.

“Hispanic Americans are watching as the cities they helped build, the communities they help police, the businesses they created, and the dreams they pursued are being threatened by an extreme movement that wants to tear everything down,” the president said in the Rose Garden event. “At the center of this movement is an aggressive effort to defund the police, if you can believe that. These people are crazy.”

He said the violence in the streets is similar to the conditions in other countries that prompted some Hispanic families to emigrate to the U.S.

“Many immigrants came to the United States in order to leave countries where the rule of law had been eroded,” Mr. Trump said. “And they don’t want those same conditions to be replicated here. They know what happens when the police cannot protect the innocent, when the rule of law is destroyed, when justice becomes an instrument of vengeance.”

He said Hispanic Americans are “hard-working patriots who support our police, protect our communities and believe strongly in the rule of law.”

“I will stand arm with the Hispanic community to ensure that every child in America can grow up in safety, security, dignity and in peace,” Mr. Trump said.

The executive order will increase access to trade schools and generally expand the government’s efforts to provide educational and business opportunities for the community. Mr. Trump appointed as co-chairs of the effort former New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez and Goya Foods Inc. CEO Robert “Bob” Unanue. Mr. Unanue pledged more than one million pounds of food for food banks nationwide that have been inundated with demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

The president and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos also emphasized their goal of expanding school choice as part of the initiative.

“It’s a political issue — I agree,” Mr. Trump said. “But it’s also a moral issue. And it really is a fundamental issue of civil rights. No American students should ever be trapped in a failing government school. It’s one of the problems you see when you see these cities going up in flame.”

He said charter schools have been “under unceasing attack from the radical left.”

“More than 1 million Hispanic American children currently attend charter schools, and nearly one in three charter-school students is Hispanic American,” Mr. Trump said. “And I will never let your charter schools be taken away from you.”

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