During a Tuesday visit to Kenosha, Wis., where unrest was sparked after a Black man was shot seven times in the back by a police officer, President Trump avoided directly responding to a reporter’s question about systemic racism in the U.S.
- The problem of police violence has been described by you, including present, as just bad apples, a few bad apples, or people who choke occasionally. Um, some African-American community leaders, and a lot of others, actually, have said it's systemic. Where do you stand on that?
DONALD TRUMP: I don't believe that. No. I don't believe that. I think the police do an incredible job. And I think you do have some bad apples. I think you'd agree, every once in a while, you'll see something. And you do have the other situation, too. They're under this tremendous pressure, and they don't handle it well. They call it choking. And it happens. And, no, but I don't believe that at all. I think there-- I've met so many police. I have the endorsement of, like, so many-- maybe everybody. And, frankly, I think they're incredible people. They want to do the right thing. It's a tough job. It's a tough job. It's a dangerous job. But I have to say this to the police. The people of our country love you. You don't hear that. You don't hear it from them. But the people of our country love you and they respect you and they-- and you know it, you feel it in your heart, or you wouldn't be doing it. Or you wouldn't be doing it. But there's a great love. And when they see what goes on, and when they see a case like this where it's solved so quickly, they respect the police a lot, really, a lot. So you should hear it, at least.
- Mr. President, to follow on that, we're focusing on violent actions. But there have been countless non-violent protests here in Wisconsin and across the country this summer, people calling for an end to systemic racism. Do you believe systemic racism is a problem in this country?
DONALD TRUMP: Well, you know, you just keep getting back to the opposite subject. We should talk about the kind of violence that we've seen in Portland and here and other places. It's tremendous violence. You always get to the other side, well, what do you think about this or that? The fact is that we've seen tremendous violence, and we will put it out very, very quickly if given the chance. And that's what this is all about. Yeah. I keep hearing about peaceful protests. I hear it about everything. And then I come into an area like this, and I see the town is burned down--
- The peaceful protests that have happened-- you've acknowledged some of them are peaceful-- they're calling for structural change. Mr. Blake was shot seven times in the back.
DONALD TRUMP: Sure.
- Do you believe that there is a need for structural change? What is your method--
DONALD TRUMP: Well, I think people are calling for structural change. And then you could take the people of Kenosha that aren't here and that you won't see and that aren't protesting, but they want change also. They want to see law and order. That's the change they want. They want law and order. They want the police to be police. They want the police to do what they do better than anybody else in the world. And that's what they want, too. You don't see them marching, and you don't see them on the streets. But what they want is they want great police force. They want people that are going to keep them safe, where their houses aren't broken into, where they're not raped and murdered. That's what they want. And they're protesters, too. But they don't walk down the street-- up and down the street-- so, uh, you know, just the way it is, just the way it is.