I was having dinner with a friend and his wife on Friday evening when the conversation turned briefly to the murders of five police officers in Dallas. “I think it’s the president’s fault,” my friend’s wife said. That led to a short, uncomfortable silence followed by a change in subject, rather than a potential argument. So much for the conservative mantra of “personal responsibility.” According to her, the man who actually pulled the trigger isn’t the culprit, it’s the president.
But one middle-aged white woman didn’t form that opinion in a vacuum. Right-wingers have been saying the president is “anti-cop” for several years, and a new round of attacks comes every time he weighs in on a controversial encounter between a cop and an African-American.
For example, the conservative blog HeatStreet offered readers a post titled “Teachable Moments: President Obama And The Police” on July 8, which shared five times the author believes the president “hated” on the police. In June 2015, Townhall’s Katie Pavlich penned an editorial for The Hill that was all about what she called Obama’s “anti-police ideology.”
This past February Fox News criticized what they called the “deafening silence” from the White House on the deaths of police officers. That story features a quote from Arizona sheriff and GOP congressional candidate Paul Babeu, who blamed violence against police on the president’s remarks following the 2009 incident between police and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates.
Yes, President Obama hates the police so much, he is cutting short his current European trip in order to speak at the memorial for the five officers who were killed in Dallas.
On Friday White House press secretary Josh Earnest announced that the president had been invited to Dallas by Mayor Mike Rawlings, and that he would be coming home from meetings with our NATO allies in order to visit the city. That was followed by an announcement on Sunday that Obama will speak on Tuesday at an interfaith memorial service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center.
While in Spain on Sunday morning the president condemned the Dallas attack in no uncertain terms when he said, “Whenever those of us who are concerned about fairness in the criminal justice system attack police officers, you are doing a disservice to the cause.” But it’s not clear whether many of the people who continue to accuse him of anti-police rhetoric heard his comments, as no video of or story about his remarks seems to be available on the Fox News website, or any other prominent conservative news outlet.
And this isn’t the first time the president has condemned the killing of police officers, although his remarks are often absent from the right-wing media universe. For example, last September he said attacks on police were “completely unacceptable” in comments about the murder of Texas sheriff’s deputy Darren Goforth.
It is sadly ironic that so many people who counter #BlackLivesMatter with #AllLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter feel the need to attack the president when he expresses concern about the repeated deadly encounters between minorities and police. Because by calling the president “anti-cop” and ignoring that there is a problem between some members of police forces and the minority community they are admitting that to them, all lives definitely do not matter.
In order to return home for his visit to Dallas, USA Today reports that the president cancelled visits with American troops. Anybody want to guess what conservatives will have to say about that?
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