August 1st, 2017 – The White House is falling back on a familiar defense after President Trump encouraged police officers to rough people up during arrests. Newly appointed press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president was probably joking when he made the controversial comments to a group of police officers in Suffolk County Community College in New York.
Speaking to the crowd last Friday, Trump’s comments remained in the headlines throughout the weekend despite many breaking stories of administration shake-ups. The president was at the rally to discuss how the federal government will address the MS-13 gang as part of his mission to restore law and order.
“When you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough, and I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,'” Trump said. “Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over, like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head, I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?'”
During an on-camera press briefing Monday, Sanders was asked for clarification on those statements.
“I believe he was making a joke at the time,” she briefly replied.
This morning it was released that DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg sent an email to agents over the weekend to express his opposition to the president’s directives.
“In writing to you, I seek to advance no political, partisan, or personal agenda. Nor do I believe that a Special Agent or Task Force Officer of the DEA would mistreat a defendant. I know that you would not,” he wrote in part. “I write because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong. That’s what law enforcement officers do. That’s what you do. We fix stuff. At least, we try.”
The Blue Lives Matter Twitter account has backed the position of the White House saying Trump was just kidding around.
Trump didn’t tell police to go out & brutalize people as the media would have you believe. It was a joke. ?https://t.co/yBq6PGY0pa
CNN’s Jim Acosta tried to push back on Sanders by asking why the president thinks police brutality is something to joke about. His last-second question went unanswered as Sanders walked out of the briefing room on Monday.
Tried to ask why POTUS was joking about police brutality. SHS did not answer the question