Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton met with top law enforcement leaders from around the country Thursday in a closed sit-down discussion to pledge support to law enforcement and to find ways to “repair the bonds of trust and respect between police officers and our communities.”
“Everyone is safer when there is respect for the law, and when everyone is respected by the law,” Clinton said at a two-hour meeting held in John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “The people around this table are pioneering, they are reforming, they are on top of the debates and concerns that have been expressed over the last couple of years and I think we can come together with a sense of shared purpose and a belief to have a purpose where we go forth united and do everything possible to keep our communities safe.”
The meeting took place between Clinton and eight of the country’s top law enforcement leaders including outgoing NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and his successor Chief James O’Neil, LAPD Chief Charles Beck, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole, former Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey, Arizona Chief Chris Magnus, and New Jersey’s Camden County Chief J. Scott Thompson.
The open meeting comes at a time when Clinton’s rival GOP candidate Donald Trump’s message of law and order resonates with the American people. During his forceful law and order speech at West Bend, Wisconsin Tuesday night, Trump painted Clinton as an anti-police candidate who is “peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force.”
“Just like Hillary Clinton is against the miners, she is against the police,” Trump said. “Those peddling the narrative of cops as a racist force in our society, a narrative supported with a nod by my opponent, share directly in the responsibility for the unrest in Milwaukee, and many other places within our country. They have fostered the dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America.”
During her introductory remarks, Clinton made no mention of her rival, but appeared to be on the defense in regards to Trump being considered the only law and order candidate.
“I want to support our police officers, with the resources they need to do their jobs to do them effectively, to learn from their efforts and apply those lessons across our nation,” Clinton said. “We can’t ignore them and certainly we must not inflame them. We need to work together to bridge our divides, not stoke even more divisiveness.”
Before Clinton gave her brief opening remark to reporters, an introductory video was shown that featured the Democratic candidate thanking Bratton for his service as NYPD Commissioner.
“We will miss you,” Clinton said to Bratton who was sitting next to her during the meeting.
Bratton announced earlier this month that he will be resigning as police commissioner and will be joining Teneo Holding, a consulting firm that has deep ties to the Clinton Foundation. Former president Bill Clinton served on the Teneo advisory board along with Huma Abedin who was a senior advisor at the same time she was working for the state department.
The police commissioner who is supposed to be neutral on political matters wasn’t afraid to be vocal in stating his personal opinion about Trump in an interview recently with CBS News.
“Mr. Trump scares me, scares the hell of out me, being quite frank with you and I just don’t get it in terms of the support for him,” Bratton said on CBS. “I have just watched his whole campaign and I just shake my head. I’m always amazed at people who are portrayed as tough guys or portray themselves as tough.”
After the two-hour meeting, Bratton told reporters that Clinton is the experienced candidate regarding law and order, adding Trump has no experience when it comes to the matter.
“In terms of law enforcement, Hillary has a lot of experience in that area and a lot of great ideas,” Bratton said, while dismissing Trump as being the law and order candidate. “He’s the law and order candidate. What is he proposing? What is his experience? What are his ideas? I just don’t know and I haven’t heard any.”
Former NYPD officer and radio talk show host John Cardillo responded to a request for comment regarding Clinton’s impromptu meeting. “It is very concerning that Commissioner Bratton, a guy I worked for and respect, is meeting with the most anti-police candidate in history,” Cardillo said. “But even more concerning is that he is leaving law enforcement to take the job with Teneo. A consulting company directly related to the Clinton Foundation and the dubious co-mingling of affairs during Hillary’s time as Secretary of State.”
Clinton is trying to position herself as the antidote for Trump, even though she is walking a fine line supporting the Black Lives Matter, having the mothers of the movement speak during the Democratic National Convention while uniformed officers were barred from entering the convention floor.
“This is the most anti-police, anti-law enforcement convention I have even seen in my whole life,” former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said as the DNC commenced. “There was not a uniformed police officer allowed on the convention floor.”
Earlier this month, Clinton and her campaign “snubbed” the biggest police union in the country by failing to fill out the questionnaire required by all candidate seeking the police union’s endorsement.
“It sends a powerful message,” Chuck Canterbury, the president of the National Fraternal Order of Police. “You would think with law enforcement issues so much in the news that even if she had disagreements with our positions, that she would have been willing to say that.”