Wall Street Journal
By Michael C. Bender
March 28, 2017
A day after he announced an effort to cut off federal criminal justice grants to states and cities that don’t fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities, President Donald Trump met Tuesday with police officers from around the country — and reminded them of his successful campaign.
Seated in the middle of a long, rectangular table inside the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Mr. Trump brought up the 2016 election results twice in less than 90 minutes, nearly five months after he defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with a minority of the popular vote.
After greeting the national leadership of the Fraternal Order of Police — his guests in the West Wing –Mr. Trump remarked on the number of reporters inside the room (whom his office had invited), said it was a tremendous honor to have the officers in the White House, identified the group’s president, and then thanked them for their presumed support during the campaign.
“I guess you probably know the numbers were extremely lopsided, right?” Mr. Trump said. “I’m just trying to figure out who were the few people that voted the other way. Who are they? Can you find out who they are for me and let us know?”
Then, a moment later, the president referred to the election a second time.
“I will always have your back, like you’ve always had mine, and you showed that on Nov. 8,” he said.
Among the law enforcement officials in the room was Dean Angelo, president of the Chicago branch of the police union. Chicago’s crime rate and status as a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants was a frequent target of Mr. Trump on the campaign trail.
On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said his office was reaffirming a more limited Obama-era policy that threatened to pull grants from jurisdictions that bar officials from communicating with federal agencies about immigration, and implied that more sweeping rules were coming. Mr. Sessions, who attended the meeting on Tuesday with the president, also said the Justice Department would try to take back previously granted funding from places that don’t comply with the communications law.
On Tuesday, Mr. Trump said police are “often prevented from doing their jobs in too many of our communities,” and noted the “violence in Chicago.”
“I always ask, ‘What’s going on in Chicago?’” he said.
After the meeting, Mr. Angelo said he was “just impressed to be in the room” with Mr. Trump and his administration.
“We’re very concerned about cutting off the law enforcement funding, but we’ll be talking about the administration,” Chuck Canterbury, the Fraternal Order of Police’s national president, said after the meeting. “Those programs that are necessary to help reduce crime in Chicago, we feel certain the administration is going to work with us to help reduce, especially, gun violence in the city of Chicago.”
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