President Barack Obama responded to the recent shootings across the country by holding a nationally televised town hall Thursday night focusing on race, called The President and the People: A National Conversation.
The president’s words in the wake of the shootings have attracted a fair amount of critics, perhaps none more harsh than Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who believes the president was not supportive enough of police. Patrick was present at the Town Hall and used the opportunity to challenge the president, face to face.
“I’m concerned that police officers across the country — they know you support law enforcement of course, but do they really in their heart feel like you’re doing everything you can to protect their lives?” Patrick asked the president.
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He continued, “Words matter, your words matter much more than mine. Everything you say matters. And I would ask you to consider being careful when there is an incident of not being too quick to condemn the police without due process and until the facts are known.”
Obama responded, in a firm but clear manner, “I have been unequivocal in condemning any rhetoric directed at police officers. So I think … you’d have to find … any message that did not include a very strong support for law enforcement in all my utterances dating back to Ferguson because I rely on law enforcement to protect me and my family, just like everybody else does.”
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The president added that he wanted to make sure everybody realizes that while he has been supportive of peaceful protests, he has been supportive of the police, too.
“I have also insisted throughout all these processes that law enforcement is deserving of due process just like everybody else. No matter how powerful videos may be or what’s been said, everybody deserves to be treated fairly by the justice system,” the president said.
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