Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump declared that “police are the most mistreated people in this country” during the Fox Business-hosted GOP debate on Jan. 14.
While explaining his proposed Muslim ban, Trump said that “we need vigilance … we need security,” according to The Huffington Post.
Referencing the Dec. 2 San Bernardino terror attack, Trump stopped mid-sentence and then, unprompted, praised law enforcement.
“By the way, the police are the most mistreated people in this country, I’ll tell you that — the most mistreated people," he said.
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Trump has referenced the “mistreatment” of police before during his presidential campaign. He secured the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent Association in December 2015 by making a bold campaign promise, The Washington Post reports.
"One of the first things I'd do in terms of executive orders, if I win, will be to sign a strong, strong statement that will go out to the country, out to the world, that anybody killing a policeman, a policewoman, a police officer, anybody killing a police officer: Death penalty is going to happen, okay?" Trump promised the association.
"The police and the law enforcement in this country -- I will never ever let them down, just remember that," the business mogul added. "They've had a hard time. These forces throughout the country have had a hard time: A lot of people killed, a lot of people killed really violently."
Citizen-police relations have been tense over the past year as videos featuring officers using excessive force on racial minorities, sometimes even shooting them dead without provocation, have surfaced online. Trump has admitted that there are “bad apples” but firmly sides with law enforcement on the matter.
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“There is turmoil in our country,” Trump said on Meet the Press in August 2015, according to Think Progress.
“But at the same time we have to give power back to the police, because we have to have law and order," he added. "We have to give strength and power back to the police.”