Some advocates for police reform argue that local governments need to cut the budgets of police departments to fund other social programs — or disband the departments.
But President Donald Trump says the country needs “strong police forces” not the elimination of police departments.
“I heard they want to close up all police forces,” Trump said during a roundtable discussion in Dallas, Texas on Thursday afternoon.
Trump continued to note that some local officials have called for the abolishing of police departments. Earlier this week, the Minneapolis city council pledged it would disband the police department.
“What happens late at night when you make that call to 9-1-1 and there’s nobody there? What do you do, whether you’re white, black, or anybody else, what do you do?” Trump asked.
Instead of defunding police departments, Trump said, “We’re going to have strong police forces because that’s what you need.”
Watch the video below:
President Trump: "I heard they want to close up all police forces… What happens late at night when you make that call to 9-1-1 and there's nobody there? What do you do, whether you're white, black, or anybody else, what do you do?" pic.twitter.com/iiVzMPkpOd— The Hill (@thehill) June 11, 2020
The phrase “defund the police” has been used by many activists to call for changes to police departments. But the slogan does not have a definitive policy goal.
Some activists use the phrase to call for local governments to cut budgets to police departments to fund other social programs. Meanwhile, others have called police departments to be disbanded.
The new push comes weeks after the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Now Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill looking at potential reforms Congress could pass to address police brutality.
“There’s no city in the world that does not have police departments. What you need are—I didn’t call for more money for police departments. I called for police departments that have well-educated, well-trained, well-paid professionals,” Sanders said in an interview with the New Yorker Magazine.
While Congressional Democrats have called for police reforms, they have voiced concerns about using the phrase “defund the police.”
Some worry that the phrase could be “easily caricatured” by Trump and weaponized against Democrats in the upcoming elections.
And so far, the president and his campaign have been working to paint Democrats radical leftists who want to get rid of police departments in contrast with his law and order message.