WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump called on Tuesday for the death penalty for whoever kills police in the United States, an idea he first proposed during his 2015 electoral campaign.
“We must end the attacks on our police and we must end them right now,” Trump said in the Capitol during an act of homage to police officers killed in the line of duty.
We believe criminals who kill our police should get the death penalty. Bring it forth,” he added.
Trump gave no further details about how he plans to implement that idea, though he said he has “directed the Justice Department to do everything in its power to defend the lives of American law enforcement.”
Two months ago, Trump announced that his government would ask for the death penalty for drug traffickers whenever that is within the law, in an attempt to combat the epidemic of opioid addiction that every day leaves 175 people dead of overdoses in the United States.
On Tuesday he sought to apply the same penalty to those found guilty of killing police officers, whose service Trump has fiercely defended from the days of his electoral campaign to the time he gave so little importance to the tensions between cops and minorities denounced by such movements as Black Lives Matter.
“Can you believe there’s prejudice with respect to our police? We’re not going to let bad things happen to our police. So we must show appreciation, gratitude, and respect for those who police our streets and patrol our communities,” Trump said Tuesday.
The number of US police officers killed in the line of duty declined from 143 in 2016 to 128 last year, when 987 people died at the hands of cops.
In December 2015, when he was competing in the primaries to become the Republican candidate for the US presidency, Trump promised in the key state of New Hampshire that if elected, he would sign an executive order instructing his government to seek the death penalty for those found guilty of killing police.
Up to now, Trump has not signed any order instructing the Justice Department to seek that sentence, a somewhat complicated undertaking given that the death penalty is illegal in a score of states, and in many cases the jurisdiction of the federal government is limited.
The president again called on Congress “to secure our borders, support our border agents, stop sanctuary cities, and shut down policies that release violent criminals back into our communities.”
“We don’t want it any longer. We’ve had it. Enough is enough,” he said.