President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that his predecessor did not take action on reforming police — even though it was under Trump that several Obama-era changes were scrapped.
“President Obama and Vice President Biden never even tried to fix this during their eight-year period. The reason they didn’t try is they had no idea how to do it,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden before he signed an executive order that encourages police departments to adopt high standards, like banning chokeholds unless the life of the officer is at risk, and to create a database of excessive force complaints.
But Obama, the nation’s first Black president, who confronted and addressed race and racism frequently, did take action to reform police and try to reduce bias in law enforcement. The Trump administration is well aware of that, too: It unraveled those changes.
“He said President Obama did nothing on police reform, but the fact is they made a lot of progress and President Trump rolled it back,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday.
Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said, “Donald Trump says President Obama and Vice President Biden didn’t do anything on policing reform, but he knows that isn’t true because he has spent the past three years tearing down the very reforms the Obama-Biden administration pursued.”
In August 2017, Trump reversed an Obama policy that banned the military from selling surplus equipment to police, a measure that had been put in place amid criticism over the armored vehicles, tear gas and assault rifles used to control protests after the police killing of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.