Trump insists no police defunding amid U.S.-wide clamour for reforms

Trump insists no police defunding amid U.S.-wide clamour for reforms

Trump insists no police defunding amid U.S.-wide clamour for reforms

President Donald Trump on Monday pledged to maintain funding for police departments in the United States amid growing calls for sweeping cuts to law enforcement budgets as protesters clamoured for an end to police brutality following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

"There won't be defunding, there won't be dismantling of our police," Trump told a round-table of state, federal, and local law enforcement officials at the White House on Monday. "We want to make sure we don't have any bad actors in there ... but 99 per cent ... of them are great, great people and have done jobs that are record setting.


Trump insists no police defunding amid U.S.-wide clamour for reforms

Demonstrators' anger over the May 25 death of George Floyd, 46, is giving way to a growing movement to make his case a turning point in race relations and policing, with some protesters and some liberal Democrats calling for police budgets to be slashed.

But moderate Democrats have distanced themselves from the proposal, including presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey was jeered by protesters over the weekend after telling them he opposed their demands for cuts in the city's police department.

At a White House briefing earlier on Monday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump "is appalled by the defund the police movement." She noted that the President is "taking a look at various" proposals in response to Floyd's death, but offered no specifics as to what measures he was considering.

On Monday, Democrats in Congress unveiled legislation that would make lynching a hate crime and allow victims of police and their families to sue police for damages in civil court, ending a legal doctrine known as qualified immunity.

Trump has drawn fire for calling on state governors to crack down on the thousands protesting Floyd's death around the country and threatening to send in the U.S. military even as he described himself as an ally to peaceful protesters.

McEnany said on Monday that Trump believes there are some "instances" of racism among police but added that the president sees the police as by and large good people.

Trump campaign rallies to start up again in next two weeks

Meanwhile, Trump plans to start holding campaign rallies again in the next two weeks, a Trump campaign official said on Monday, ending a three-month hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump, who thrives on the energy from packed arenas, has not held a rally since March 2 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and aides describe him as chomping at the bit to get out and start campaigning again ahead of the November 3 U.S. presidential election.

It was unclear exactly when or where Trump's first rally will be and the official, confirming a report in Politico, said safety measures for attendees were still being worked out.

Campaign manager Brad Parscale is to present the president with some options in the next few days. In a statement, Parscale predicted Trump rallies will surpass those of Democrat Joe Biden, whose campaigning has also been sharply curtailed due to the virus.

The Republican party's nominating convention has also been impacted by the pandemic, with current public health rules preventing Trump from delivering his acceptance speech before a full house of delegates and supporters in Charlotte, North Carolina as initially planned.

On Monday, a separate campaign adviser said the president and the Republican National Committee were leaning toward moving Trump's speech to Jacksonville, Florida, where they expect to be allowed to gather in larger numbers. Both the campaign official and adviser spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Trump is under pressure to reverse his tumbling prospects for re-election and is counting on a rebound in the U.S. economy, which was rocked by the global pandemic. He also is grappling with mass protests that erupted after African-American George Floyd died in police custody.

A number of public opinion polls show Biden with a lead over Trump nationally and in some of the battleground states where the election will be decided.

Trump's political advisers, however, see active Republican enthusiasm for his candidacy based on a record of victories by the 64 party candidates he has endorsed in special elections since the 2018 mid-terms.