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Trump ends speech on policing with white supremacist dog whistle

Trump ends speech on policing with white supremacist dog whistle

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In a Rose Garden address that at least one observer described as being delivered by “the low energy and twitchy Donald Trump,” the president today unveiled his executive order on police reform that was a forced response to the extraordinary protests against racially-biased law enforcement that have erupted throughout the country during the past few weeks.

Anyone who may have expected Trump to take bold action to reverse existing law enforcement practices will likely view his executive order as an empty gesture that has such a glaring loophole that comparisons to swiss cheese should be imminent.

The president said that his new order would encourage the banning of the use of chokeholds by police — the type of physical restraint that resulted in the deaths of George Floyd, Eric Garner, and who knows how many others — but insisted that exceptions could be made when a police officer felt that their life could be in danger.

Given that police have been either poor assessors of the dangers that they are facing from unarmed suspects or apt to invent details of their deadly encounters that are later disproved by video footage, it is a loophole that one could drive a freight train through with plenty of room to spare.

That chokeholds were not definitively banned by the president is unsurprising considering that he described them as “so innocent and so perfect” just last Friday.

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The tepid action on police reform notwithstanding, the president also displayed a uniquely skewed vision of what constitutes the major civil rights issue of our time by claiming that it was school choice, not systemic racism, that fit that description.

Trump’s comments on the COVID-19 pandemic — which he has largely pretended has been solved the past few weeks as demonstrations raged around the country — demonstrate how, even at an event seemingly focused on solving police brutality against minorities, the president always shifts the conversation to a magical reality where his non-existent economic accomplishments propel him to re-election.

In case it wasn’t already obvious by his soporific demeanor during his remarks that Trump’s executive action was at best half-hearted, the president made it quite clear where his true sympathies remained with his dog-whistle nod to protecting our nation’s “heritage,” as many white people in the South refer to their confederate flags, statuary, and monuments, all of which have been under societal reevaluation during the current protests.

While some may see Trump’s remarks as “tone deaf,” it’s clear that he’s saying exactly what he wants to say to his right-wing extremist followers as at least one Twitter poster garnered from watching the president’s address.

Trump is in a quandary. As his polls keep dropping, he continues to aim his campaign at the dwindling number of far-right loyalists that he needs to maintain his base, but every time he caters to their racist druthers, he alienates a wider swath of the general public.

The question remains when will he realize that he’s headed for a massive defeat and claim a medical issue as a face-saving method of dropping out of the race and then quickly jetting off for private treatment in Russia where no extradition will be possible before he can be held accountable for his crimes, both before and after he took office?

Hopefully, soon.

Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.

Original reporting by Tom Boggioni and Sarah K. Burris at RawStory and by Aaron Rupar at Vox.

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