Trump on ABC News town hall: ‘We have to give police back that strength’

“Police are so afraid today that if they do something slightly wrong ... their pension’s gone, their job’s gone,” the president said. “We have to be about law and order.”
5:26 | 09/16/20

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Transcript for Trump on ABC News town hall: ‘We have to give police back that strength’
The next question comes from Alexander of Dallas, Pennsylvania. He voted for president trump last time around. Hello, Mr. Trump. My question is actually about police reform and how can we balance common sense police reform without sacrificing public safety in a time when, you know, part of the country is calling to defund the police and actively cheering when they're gunned down in the street and another part is tired of seeing the lawlessness? So, we have a great senator named Tim Scott from south Carolina and he had a plan that was very much of a compromise plan, but it was a plan that pretty much everybody agreed to it, the Democrats agreed to it but they wouldn't vote for it. It was a compromise of a lot of different factors. And it didn't get done. And it should have gotten done. It could still be resurrected very easily, but they just didn't want to do it, because I think the Democrats are viewing this as a political issue and I probably agree with them, I think it's very bad for them, because we're about law and order. We have to be, otherwise you're going to see your cities burn. And that's the way it is. If we can do a plan like Tim Scott's plan, which is really -- it goes far enough but it doesn't take the dignity away from our police. We have incredible people. They've been protecting us for a long time. I mean, we're here and I feel very safe being in this room. These are great people. We can't take their dignity away. We have to let them be able to do what they do better than anybody else. So, I think we have to look at it that way. We have to -- we have to be very, very careful. Police are so afraid today that they do something slightly wrong, slightly wrong and their pension's gone, their job is gone, their life is ruined, their wife or their husband will leave, the whole thing, it's a very scary thing to do. And then you look at safety, I mean, you look at that horrible human being that shot these two police, just a disgusting -- and then ran off, you look at that -- this is a very tough job and it's a very unsafe job. It's a very dangerous job. We have to give them back their dignity and we have to give them back respect. These are great people, for the most part. There is always going to be a bad apple. In your business, in my business, no matter what, I mean, there's going to be bad apples. We have to weed out the bad apples. But we have to give -- we have to give the police back that -- that strength that they had a short while ago. And that they have in Republican cities, frankly, and states, but you take a look, this is a Democrat problem, George, I know you're a Democrat, but this is largely a Democrat problem. If you -- just look at the list. Every Democrat city, almost, not all, but a lot of them, certainly in the top 25, even if you go the top 50, almost every city is run by the Democrats. People don't respect our police. Mr. President -- They have to respect them. You promised four years ago at the Republican convention, I'm going to restore law and And I have. Except in democrat-run cities. Look, we have laws, we have to go by the laws. We can't move in the national Guard, I can call insurrection, but there's no reason to call that, even in the Portland case. We can't call in the national Guard unless we are requested by a governor. If a governor or a mayor, like in Portland, we call them constantly. I just spoke to the governor yesterday, because we're giving them relief on the fires, we're giving them an emergency declaration, I said, governor, let us go in and we'll clean up Portland so fast, in a half an hour, it will be all right. And she's just torn by it. I don't understand the thinking, but they're torn by it. I have a lot of respect for the governor, frankly, in what happened in Minneapolis was pretty amazing. Unfortunately, it just went on for a week and a week and a half before he allowed us to bring in the National Guard. When we brought in the national Guard, everything stopped, the crime was gone, meaning the whole thing, but by that time, a big portion of the city was burned down. Talking about Minneapolis. In Seattle, we let them know, we're coming in, they took over a big chunk of the city. 20% of the city. We said, we're coming in. As soon as we said that, police department went in and these other people were exhausted, but had we not said we're going in, we were going in the following morning, wherever you are a Democrat city, not in all cases, but if you look at the really troubled cities in our country, they're democrat-run and that's Biden. They're weak, they're ineffective. You are president for those cities right now. I'm only allowed to do what I can do. I don't need an insurrection. We proved that we can take care of it in Minneapolis. After the city was burning and the thing I don't really get is that the news media is saying, no, these are peaceful, these are peaceful and right over the reporter was a CNN reporter, right over his shoulder and you saw that, right over his shoulder, the city is burning. It looked like it was Berlin during the war, it was the craziest thing I've ever seen and he's trying to say -- I don't know why the news media tries to make so light of it. These are not protests. These are far greater than protests.

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

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