Trump to sign executive order on police reform Tuesday

Trump to sign executive order on police reform Tuesday 1

U.S. President Donald Trump makes an announcement about U.S. trade relations with China and Hong Kong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, May 29, 2020.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on police reform tomorrow, he said Monday, as activists ramp up pressure for an overhaul of U.S. policing practices. 

The order is expected to include multiple measures, and will have language strengthening ways to track police misconduct, NBC News reported earlier Monday, citing attorney S. Lee Merritt, who said he will attend the signing ceremony in the Rose Garden on Tuesday.

Trump, speaking to reporters at a White House roundtable event Monday afternoon, said he believed the order would be “pretty comprehensive.”

“Basically, we’re going to be talking about things that we’ve been watching and seeing for the last month, and we’re going to have some solutions, some good solutions,” Trump said without providing further details.

During an event in Dallas last week, the president said that the order would “encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards of force” and de-escalation. He said “that means force, but force with compassion.” 

The White House declined to comment Monday when asked for further details about the order.

The executive action comes as lawmakers of both parties work on their own legislative proposals to reform the police – an issue that became a central focus in recent weeks, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Democrats unveiled a sweeping bill last week, while Republicans tasked South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, one of three Black members of the Senate, to lead a working group to develop reform measures of their own. Scott said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he believes both parties will be able to find a path forward to pass a bill into law.

The death of Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died when a white officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest, sparked a protest movement against police brutality and structural racism that has drawn crowds of thousands of demonstrators across the country for multiple weeks.

Merritt told NBC that the president’s executive order will include language that acknowledges the existence of systemic racism in policing – a concept that some Trump administration officials have ben reluctant to embrace.

Trump’s senior economic advisor Larry Kudlow told CNBC’s “The Exchange” on Wednesday that he does not believe there is systemic racism in the United States.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, when asked at a briefing last week if Trump believes systemic racism exists within law enforcement, said the president believes there are “instances of racism” but that most cops are good people.