PATERSON, NJ – Pushing back on lies from the Trump White House, today U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09), the co-chairman of the House Law Enforcement Caucus, has an article in the New York Daily News discussing how Donald Trump has sought to defund and denigrate law enforcement throughout his presidency.
The full text of Pascrell’s article is provided below.
Donald Trump vs. law enforcement: All the ways he’s hurt policing in America as president
By Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Desperate to deflect from his failure to contain the pandemic, President Trump is making support for law enforcement a centerpiece of his administration. But even a cursory scan of Trump’s record in office shows that he is no ally of good policing. If anything, Trump may be the most anti-police president America has ever had.
As the co-chairman of the Law Enforcement Caucus in Congress, I’ve tried to deliver adequate funding for local police departments and first responders, often through generous grant programs.
Two programs in particular, the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and Byrne Memorial Justice (Byrne JAG) grants, have for years given local police departments support to hire new staff and to provide for training, equipment, and supplies. In New Jersey, we have received $232 million over nearly two decades to strengthen public safety.
Trump has spent his presidency seeking to gut these programs.
In Trump’s first budget proposal, Byrne JAG funding was slashed 11%, or $43 million. Likewise, Trump’s last three budgets have all sought to outright eliminate the COPS office and cleave over 50% from the hiring program. These draconian cuts failed only because of Congress, specifically many Democrats, stopped them.
Seemingly daily, Trump asserts that former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats have “defunded” police. The reality is the exact opposite: Trump has personally sought to decapitate police funding every year he has been in office.
Trump’s attacks on police departments extend to illegal sabotage of law enforcement functions. For several years, Trump and the Department of Justice, first under Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then Bill Barr, withheld millions in Byrne JAG funds to cities and states until they carried out Trump’s cruel immigration policies.
New Jersey was one of the states that refused to comply. After several courts ruled against this extortion, DOJ finally released millions in withheld grants to police departments.
But incredibly, Trump hasn’t given up and just this week ordered the blockading of funding to cities experiencing protests and other unrest including Portland, New York and the District of Columbia. If successful, Trump would again starve police departments.
Trump has even stopped COVID-related support for law enforcement. On May 15, the House passed the HEROES Act, which included $600 million in emergency COPS and Byrne JAG funding and $900 billion for state and local governments to avoid cuts to essential services, like first responders.
This support is a matter of life and death. More officers have died from COVID-19 than from all other causes this year. More have died than those who lost their lives on 9/11. In our district, we tragically lost two first responders, Frank Scorpo and Israel Tolentino, who died protecting our communities.
These are the lives at stake that need help.
But for 110 days, Mitch McConnell and the Republican-controlled Senate have been blocking the HEROES Act at Trump’s behest. Every day this aid is blocked puts the jobs of thousands of law enforcement officers and the public safety of millions of Americans at risk.
The Trump campaign, too, has repeatedly stiffed police departments. When national political candidates hold rallies, local police departments typically provide support and campaigns reimburse them. Because of their propensity towards violence, Trump rallies are especially needing of additional protection.
As of now, the Trump campaign owes over $1.8 million to departments in 14 cities. Last October, I called on the Federal Election Commission to investigate Trump’s deadbeat campaign.
Over and over, Trump has demonstrated disdain for law enforcement, to say nothing of his fascistic rhetoric in support of violence against protesters, which dishonors all good cops. That record clashes with the balanced support for police by Democrats.
Following the murder of George Floyd, the Democratic House moved swiftly to transform policing. The passage of the Justice In Policing Act represents the broadest law enforcement reforms in generations. This watershed legislation would end racial profiling, stop excessive use of force, and reverse the militarization of departments.
Trump’s claims of unqualified support for police is a lie. That the man who was impeached for high crimes, who encourages lawbreaking, and who surrounds himself with criminals screams “LAW AND ORDER” is preposterous. But Americans should know that his words and his actions have put police lives in danger.
Among our national leaders, no one is more anti-police than Donald Trump.