President Trump had the White House lit blue late Wednesday to honor police officers who have been killed in the line of duty – but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Tonight, the White House was lit in blue in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day. pic.twitter.com/Tv9nAn5M2G
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 16, 2019
The lighting falls on Peace Officers Memorial Day, which is an annual observance that President John F. Kennedy put in place decades ago.
It also marks the middle of Police Week, which has brought more than six thousand Survivors and tens of thousands of law enforcement officers to the capital for a series of events.
“On Peace Officers Memorial Day and throughout Police Week, we express our unending gratitude to our Nation’s law enforcement officers,” Trump wrote in a press release last Friday. “Those brave men and women selflessly confront danger to protect our families and defend our communities. We also honor those in blue who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty.”
On Wednesday afternoon, President Trump gave a passionate and at times fiery speech at the 38th Annual Peace Officers’ Memorial Service.
He opened up speaking directly to the Survivors.
“Your loved ones were extraordinary and selfless Americans who gave everything they had in defense of our communities, our children, and our nation. These brave heroes did not put on the uniform for praise or for glory. They wore the badge because it was their duty, their calling, their noble purpose to serve, protect like nobody has ever done it before,” he said.
President Trump went on to say the fallen officers “embodied our highest ideals and greatest aspiration”, calling them “the very best of us”.
“Today, we engrave their memories into our hearts and inscribe their names into the eternal roll call of American heroes. In honor of the fallen, we pledge to always support their brothers and sisters in blue.”
At the Memorial Service, it wasn’t just the fallen officers from 2018 who were honored. There were also 87 officers who died in recent years as a result of exposure to toxic debris following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Trump then went on to recognize the stories of a number of different individual stories, and gave Americans a solemn reminder of the dedication of those officers.
“He said: “Mama, if I ever die in the line of duty, know that I died doing what I [Truly] loved.” This morning, we are honored to be joined by the families of both of these remarkable officers. To Patrolman James White’s mom Laurie, and dad Darrell, and sons JC and James, and to Corporal Zach Moak’s mom Vickie, dad Marshall, and brother Chris: Your heroes loved their job, they loved their country, and today their love shines down on you from Heaven.”
It was a moment President Trump used to call for the death penalty against those who murder officers… to the roar of the crowd and a standing ovation.
“The ambushes and attacks on our police must end, and they must end right now. We believe that criminals who murder police officers should immediately, with trial, get the death penalty — but quickly.”
He called for swift but severe justice.
“The trial should go fast. It’s got to be fair, but it’s got to go fast. And that’s happening. Fair but fast, right? Fair but fast. In the year before I took office, the number of officers killed in ambushes rose to the highest level in nearly 30 years. In the last two years, thankfully, the number of officers killed in ambushes has decreased by more than 70 percent.”
President Trump went on to talk about the need to use military surplus equipment to benefit agencies across the country… and took the opportunity to take a shot at former-President Obama.
“I’m very proud to have sent to all of the police departments all over the country hundreds of millions — and even billions — of dollars’ worth of military equipment that wasn’t being used. Beautiful, wonderful, safe, great equipment that wasn’t being used. And other administrations didn’t want to send it. Someday, you’ll explain that one to me. [Laughter] But it’s been sent and it’s been used, and I’ve had so many people tell me how happy they were and how many lives it saved.”
President Trump said there’s no question that his administration will also fight for the Blue family.
“We’ll never back down when it comes to protecting out police, ever. Ever. In my administration, we strongly condemn hateful anti-police rhetoric. And you’re hearing it. You’re hearing it. We don’t understand it. We don’t think it’s even possible that they can think or feel this way.”
Another moment that brought a roar from the audience was when he called out Chicago prosecutors.
“In recent years, another dangerous trend has begun. A number of prosecutors in cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago have decided not to prosecute many criminals who pose a severe threat to public safety and community wellbeing. Every prosecutor takes an oath to uphold the law, not to advance a political agenda.”
He also called out the “Jussie” investigation.
“And those who file false police reports should face full legal consequences. Every American child deserves to grow up in a community that’s secure and safe from violence, and free of fear.”
President Trump took the opportunity to reinforce the need to secure the border… and said the fact that we haven’t falls solely on the shoulders of Congress.
“Not one more American life should be lost because our lawmakers failed to secure our borders. Tremendous problems are caused at the southern border — from drugs, to the wrong people being allowed to come in because of a corrupt and broken system that can be changed in 20 minutes — 20 minutes, if they want to change it. In the meantime, we have to do it the tough way.
He demanded that politicians do the jobs they were elected to do and actually be lawmakers for a change.
“And there’s no reason for that. That’s why we are calling on Congress to fix our terrible immigration laws, stop catch-and-release; you catch them and you release them. That doesn’t work too well with all these great officers I’m looking at. They never heard of a thing like that. To end deadly sanctuary cities.”
As he wrapped up his speech, President Trump once again thanked LEOs across the country.
“Moms and dads can sleep soundly at night, kids can play with neighbors outside, and grandparents can feel at peace in their homes because they know America’s officers are the absolute best and they’re always on the beat.”
He also reminded people that we can never forget their sacrifices.
“The courage and sacrifice of our heroes is the reason our flag stands tall and bravely, our hearts beat with pride, and our country remains one people, one family, and one nation under God. Today, we thank you, we honor you, and we forever cherish the memory of our fallen men and women in blue.”