Anytime a national tragedy occurs, Republicans pretty much jump at the chance to blame whatever it is on President Barack Obama, and the Dallas attacks on several police officers were no exception.
At an ABC town hall Thursday night on race and gun violence, lieutenant governor of Texas Dan Patrick criticized Obama for his response to the Dallas shootings and incidents like it. It was no secret that Patrick had it out for Obama and deemed the president responsible for much of the spreading anger against law enforcement for police brutality attacks.
In addressing Obama, Patrick said that America’s police officers did not feel like the President is genuinely supporting them and working hard to protect their lives as much as he tries to protect black lives. Patrick said:
They know you support law enforcement, of course, but do they really in their heart feel like you’re doing everything you can to protect their lives? You said the tension between police and black America is only going to get worse. … Your words matter. And I would ask you to consider being careful when there is an incident of not being too quick to condemn the police without due process and until the facts are known.
Obama’s patience with Republicans is wearing thin, and everyone could hear it in his voice when he responded. Shutting down Patrick’s suggestion that he hasn’t tried to quiet hatred and violence against police, the President said he’s been “unequivocal” in discouraging anti-police rhetoric. He said:
I have been unequivocal in condemning any rhetoric directed at police officers. So I think, Lt. Gov., you’d have to find … any message that did not include a very strong support for law enforcement in all my utterances dating back to Ferguson because I rely on law enforcement to protect me and my family, just like everybody else does.
Obama even said he could show Patrick direct proof of his support of police officers with just a quick online search.
Although Obama had just spoken at the memorial for the fallen Dallas police officers a few days ago, Patrick pressed him further and said cops need to “know it in their heart” that he cares about them. Patrick even suggested that Obama put blue lights on the White House to show his support. Patrick said, “Put on the blue lights. The police have asked you to do that. You’ve done it for other groups.”
Obama didn’t respond to that suggestion, and instead replied:
I have also insisted throughout all these processes that law enforcement is deserving of due process just like everybody else. No matter how powerful videos may be or what’s been said, everybody deserves to be treated fairly by the justice system.
Obama reiterated that he’d always promoted fair treatment, but also pointed out that there is actual data that supports that African Americans are targeted and treated differently by law enforcement. Obama said:
We have to address that honestly. This is not just stuff I make up.
Patrick had tried to corner Obama and failed miserably. There is no evidence that Obama is anti-police or cares about some tragedies more than others. You can watch Obama shut down Patrick in the interview below:
Interesting that Patrick would criticize Obama for not supporting cops – especially since police fatalities have never been lower than while Obama was in the White House.
Featured image via US Embassy Kabul Afghan/Flickr