WHITE HOUSE - After weeks of civil unrest in America, President Donald Trump is promising that his administration will aggressively pursue economic development in minority communities and confront health care disparities in those areas.
The White House, without releasing details, said this is part of a four-point plan "to build safety, opportunity and dignity."
Speaking Thursday at an event on race and policing in a church in Dallas, Texas, the president said that as part of the plan he will sign an executive order calling for police to meet the most current professional standards for the use of force.
"We have to work together to confront bigotry and prejudice wherever they appear," Trump said. "But we'll make no progress and heal no wounds by falsely labeling tens of millions of decent Americans as racist."
Trump also rejected criticism of his earlier remarks about the need for law enforcement to dominate the streets amid the unrest.
"I'll stick with that," he said.
Trump is taking note of this week's sustained protests on the streets of Seattle in the state of Washington. Earlier in the day, he demanded the city's mayor and the state's governor immediately take back the city "from ugly anarchists" or "if you don't do it, I will."
Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stopped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2020
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan had a terse Twitter response to Trump’s threats: “Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker.”
The steps related to African American communities and police reform that Trump unveiled Thursday in Dallas are unlikely to appease those enraged following the death in police custody of an African American man, George Floyd.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr was among those at Thursday's meeting at Gateway Church. He said the sight of a Minneapolis police officer, who is now facing a second-degree murder charge, holding his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly 9 minutes was a "ghastly spectacle" that has galvanized the country.
Barr expressed hope that good would come out of bad, but when it comes to the demands by some demonstrators to dismantle U.S. law enforcement institutions, Barr replied, "we don't need to tear them down."
Trump also said repeatedly Thursday that defunding or dismantling police departments cannot be allowed.
The president downplayed the severity of police brutality against people of color, asserting that most police are good, but "you always have a bad apple no matter where you go."
As Trump's motorcade arrived at the church, separate groups of protesters were nearby. Some of those demonstrating against the president held profanity-laced signs. Supporters of Trump carried placards for his November reelection bid.
The expected main opponent of Trump in the general election, former Vice President Joe Biden, criticized the president's trip to Dallas.
"For weeks we've seen President Trump run away from a meaningful conversation on systemic racism and police brutality," the Democratic Party presumptive nominee said in a statement. "Instead, he's further divided our country. Today's trip to Texas won't change any of that. President Trump is more interested in photo-ops than offering a healing voice as our nation mourns."
In the Dallas church, Trump sat on a stage at a long semicircular table behind a presidential seal and against a backdrop dotted with American flags and printed with the words "Transition to Greatness."
The president is predicting a huge economy recovery following disastrous months of business shutdowns and job losses because of the coronavirus pandemic. Just before Trump made his remarks in Dallas, U.S. stocks suffered huge drops with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down nearly 7%.
Investors, according to market watchers, were spooked by increases in coronavirus cases in states that have loosened social distancing restrictions, as well as a warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that the economy faces "a long road to recovery."
Earlier in the day, Trump rejected Powell's pessimistic forecast.
"The Federal Reserve is wrong so often. I see the numbers also and do MUCH better than they do. We will have a very good Third Quarter, a great Fourth Quarter, and one of our best ever years in 2021. We will also soon have a Vaccine & Therapeutics/Cure. That's my opinion. WATCH!" Trump said on Twitter.
The Federal Reserve is wrong so often. I see the numbers also, and do MUCH better than they do. We will have a very good Third Quarter, a great Fourth Quarter, and one of our best ever years in 2021. We will also soon have a Vaccine & Therapeutics/Cure. That’s my opinion. WATCH!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 11, 2020