Two local Black pastors, James and Sharon Ward, were asked by a journalist at Tuesday’s (September 1) roundtable event with President Donald Trump in Kenosha, Wisconsin if they think that police violence is a systemic issue. Instead of allowing the pastors to respond, Trump interjected his own answer.
CNN reports that the two pastors were the only African Americans at this particular public safety roundtable. The event was following the social unrest in Kenosha, a direct biproduct of the police shooting of Jacob Blake on August 23.
“I don’t believe that,” said Trump. “I think the police do an incredible job and I think you do have some bad apples. You do have the other situation, too, where they’re under tremendous pressure and they don’t handle it well. They call it choking and it happens.”
The President then went on to insinuate that, based on his personal interactions with police, he didn’t see enough evidence to suggest that police violence is a part of a larger, systemic problem in the United States. “I’ve met so many police,” he said. “I have the endorsement of like, so many, maybe everybody.”
Earlier during the discussion, both James and Sharon Ward explained to Trump that they wanted to work with him to provide peaceful interventions during this time of protest for police reform. “We believe that we can help to listen with empathy and compassion to the real pain that hurts Black Americans, but we want to be of service to you and to our nation to do whatever we can to bring true healing, true peace, and to really seek God’s very best in our nation” said James Ward.
During the course of the conversation, Trump had also been asked about the problem of systematic racism in the United States. Completly dismissing the questions, he answered, “We should talk about the kind of violence we’ve seen in Portland and here and other places. The fact is that we’ve seen tremendous violence and we will put it out very, very quickly if given the chance.”
Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
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