President Donald Trump slammed Democratic candidate Joe Biden for his apparent lack of support from police unions and other law enforcement groups after hundreds of riots shook American cities over the summer.
Trump and Biden met on a debate stage in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday night for the first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign, hosted by Fox News and moderated by anchor Chris Wallace. Wallace raised the issue of the future of policing, pressing the candidates directly on their thoughts about activists’ calls to replace police departments with “community” policing.
“He’s talking about defunding the police. He doesn’t have any law support. He has no law enforcement support. Almost nothing,” Trump said, interrupting Biden’s answer to Wallace’s question.
“That’s not true,” Biden shot back.
“Oh really? Who do you have?” Trump continued to press. “Name one group that supports you. Name one group that came out and supported you. Go ahead. Think. We have time.”
“We don’t have time to do anything except … alright, folks. Folks,” Biden responded, mumbling through part of his answer.
“Name one law enforcement group that came out and supported you, Joe,” Trump challenged Biden again. “There aren’t. I don’t think there are any.”
At that point, Wallace interjected, retaking the floor and saving Biden from further potential embarrassment trying to answer the president’s question directly.
“I think, gentlemen, I am going to take back the moderator’s role,” Wallace said before launching into his next planned discussion topic: summer riots that caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage to major American cities.
President Trump to Joe Biden:
"Name one law enforcement group that came out to support you."
Chris Wallace takes back the time. pic.twitter.com/F88TGOuFnu
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 30, 2020
Trump has earned the endorsement of multiple influential law enforcement groups. Biden’s support from law enforcement has come on an individual basis. As reported by Fox News, in early September, Biden received the endorsement of a list of more than 175 former and current law enforcement officers. The list includes “former U.S. attorneys, former state attorneys general, former sheriffs, and former police chiefs,” as well as former Obama administration secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.
A summer of civil unrest erupted across the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Floyd, a black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. An autopsy of Floyd’s body later found a potentially lethal mixture of fentanyl and methamphetamines in the man’s system at the time of his death. The finding prompted the Hennepin County medical examiner to conclude that Floyd likely died of an overdose with “no physical evidence suggesting” asphyxiation caused by Floyd’s arrest.
Black Lives Matter protesters have taken up calls to “defund the police” and redirect that funding to social programs meant to stop crime before it happens by intervening in the lives of potential future criminals. The calls have gained some purchase in cities such as Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and New York City as elected leaders have pledged to cut police budgets.
The protests and riots have also led to a spate of early retirements and resignations among top law enforcement officials in American cities. Detroit Chief of Police James Craig, who has stayed in his position through the summer and credited his close relationship with the mayor, blamed the departures on local leaders “folding to the pressure by the protesters” and refusing to stand by law enforcement officials attempting to stop riots.
This article has been updated to include more information about support for Trump and Biden among law enforcement groups and officials.
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