President Donald Trump expressed his confusing feelings about the use of chokeholds during arrests by police officers around the country, saying that he thinks there are a lot of variables to consider but that “generally speaking it should be ended.”
The president sat down with Fox News’ Harris Faulkner for an interview in Dallas, and they discussed the ongoing protests against racial inequality and police brutality in this country. As the protests are a response to the police killing of George Floyd, Faulkner asked Trump about the force used in the video of his death.
“I don’t like chokeholds,” said Trump, who then meandered off to say that sometimes police officers deal with “a real bad person” who is very “tough.” In fights such as that, he wondered, “what are you gonna do now ― let go?” He added that it’s “a very tricky situation” for officers to be in.
Faulkner then asked if he wanted to be in the public conversation about reform and the variables involved in using chokeholds. Trump responded, “I really am.”
Trump went on to say that he thinks “the concept of chokehold sounds so innocent, so perfect,” but it depends on how many people are in need of restraint or up against the officer and the “toughness and strength” of those involved.
“I think it would be a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended,” he said.
Chokeholds are also known as neck restraints or neck holds and refer to the practice of officers’ restraining someone’s neck with an arm or leg. The practice has been controversial for years, and furor against it reignited when Minneapolis Black man Floyd died last month after white police Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck.
Since then, cities, states and countries around the world have banned the use of police neck restraints. Just this week, Democrats proposed “a sweeping overhaul of police oversight and procedures” that would effectively ban chokeholds on a federal level.
Earlier in the conversation with Faulkner, Trump addressed the ongoing protests connected with Floyd. When Faulkner asked him what he thought the protesters needed from him right now, he evaded the question by claiming without evidence that there were people involved who had no idea why they were there.
“A lot of them really were there because they were following the crowd,” Trump said.
Faulkner, again, tried to press Trump on what he had to say to protesters and the Black community right now.
“I think I’ve done more for the Black community than any other president,” said Trump, who then argued that Abraham Lincoln “did good although it’s always questionable.”
Pushing back, Faulkner responded by saying: “Well, we are free, Mr. President. He did pretty well.”
“You understand what I mean,” Trump said, adding — again without evidence — that he’s achieved criminal justice reform and “nobody else could have done it.”