Trump on ABC News town hall: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor killings ‘tragic events’

The president said “We have to give the respect back to the police that they deserve… You have to allow the police to do their job, otherwise crime is going to soar.”
5:30 | 09/16/20

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Transcript for Trump on ABC News town hall: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor killings ‘tragic events’
The next question comes from Laura, she's from glenshaw, Pennsylvania, registered nurse who has always voted Republican for president. Laura, go ahead. Hello, Mr. President. Martin Luther king Jr. Once famously wrote, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. In the light of the ongoing protests surrounding the deaths of George Floyd, breonna Taylor and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake, do you feel racial injustices are occurring in this nation and if so, what can be done to address them? Well, I think they were tragic events and I do feel that we have to also take into consideration that if you look at our police, they do a phenomenal job. You'll have people choke and make mistakes. It happens. And you also have bad apples. But you have 99% great people. I know the police forces very well. I think almost every one of them, if you look, I've been endorsed by so many of them and these are great people and I will say this, if you're going to stop crime, we have to give the -- the respect back to the police that they deserve. They've done a fantastic job in so many locations but then bad things happen. Look at New York. New York was a very safe city. Rudy Giuliani did a fantastic job. The city was safe and then all of a sudden we have a mayor who starts cutting the police force and crime is up 100%, 150%, I saw one form of crime up 300%. So, I think it's very important, whether you talk Seattle, where they have very good police, but they're not allowed to do their job, you have to allow the police to do their job. I agree with you, those events are terrible, but we have to allow the police to do their job, otherwise crime is going to soar. Now, the problem is that in Democrat, usually liberal democrat-run cities, we have tremendous problems. The top ten most unsafe cities are run by Democrats. You go into the top 25 and top 35, almost every one of them is run by Democrats. No cash bail, just weak policies on crime. We have to give the police the respect that they deserve and we have to give them their mojo. We have to let them protect us. How about that horrible crime that took place two days ago, where this terrible human being walks up to a police car with two people in the car and he starts shooting bullets right in their face and just has destroyed -- I mean, I hear they're going to make it but they're going to have a hard time being the same. It's just a terrible thing. That was monstrous. There's no question about that. But a lot of people look at But that's a lack of respect. When somebody can do that, that's a lack of respect. There's no retribution. It's horrific. This guy walks up to a police car and he starts shooting point blank range at two innocent people. You can't let that happen. You have to -- you have to be very tough on crime when it comes to things. Tough on crime, but also obey the rules and regulation for policing and you talk about police choking. You talk about bad apples. But a lot of people look at the statistics. Black Americans, more than three times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police and that indicates that this just isn't bad apples. This just isn't choking. This is a real systemic problem. Do you believe that? What will you do to address it? So, I just saw a poll where African-Americans in this country, black communities are 81% in favor of having more police. They want more police, they want protection. They suffer more than anybody else by bad police protection. All minorities, hispanic or black or Asian, they suffer more than anybody else, George. We have to give -- we have to give the police back the authority to stop crime. When you have something like in Portland, where it's just night after night, I could stop that with the people we have in a half an hour if they'd let me do that. What would you do? Bring in the National Guard. We'd bring it in and we would stop that -- well, we did it in Minneapolis. Take a look at -- How do you stop police killing blacks at three times the rate of killing whites? I can only say this, that the police in this country have done generally a great job. There are crimes, there are problems and there are chokers. They choke under pressure. They have one quarter of a second to make a decision and sometimes they make the wrong decision and that's a terrible thing. The problem is, that will be on the news for two, three weeks in a row and the hundreds and thousands of good acts, you know, nobody talks about. You don't think that's a sign of systemic racism? I think there's problems, but I think there's some very big problems where if you don't believe police back their authority, right now, police are afraid they're going to lose their pension, they're going to lose their job if they talk to somebody in the wrong way. When I watch New York, you know, the New York City police endorsed me and I love them. One group of the New York City police, yes. I watched six months ago policemen walking down a street and people were dumping water on their head. They had absolutely no fear. They had absolutely no retribution. I thought it was a low point. I thought it was a low point for New York City's finest. And frankly, those people should -- those cops should have turned around and really done something.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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