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At Dallas Event, Trump Outlines 4-Point Plan To Address 'Disparities'


This country is opening its eyes to racial injustice in a new way. Congress is responding. And President Trump has been under pressure to say and do something. But at an event in Dallas yesterday, he said it's only a few police officers causing problems. And he proposed not defunding departments but investing more.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Well, we're going to finalize an executive order that will encourage police departments nationwide to meet the most current professional standards of force. And that means force but force with compassion. But if you're going to have to really do a job, if somebody's really bad, you're going to have to do it with real strength, real power.

MARTIN: So what does that mean in terms of actual policy? We've got White House correspondent Tamara Keith with us. Good morning, Tam.


MARTIN: Tell us more about what the president has proposed.

KEITH: You know, there's not a lot of detail. There's mostly broad-brush goals here, like reducing racial disparities in health care and offering school choice. On policing, Republicans in Congress are working on a plan, a policy response, to the legislation that House Democratic leaders have put forward. And it's not clear whether President Trump will endorse what the Republicans come up with. He talked about this executive order. But we'll probably need to see it to understand what he means by encouraging professional standards or supporting pilot programs for social workers to go out with police. But he did make it clear that he does not think there's a problem with systemic racism in police departments. He described it as a few bad apples. And more broadly on matters of race, Trump said that you can't heal the country by labeling millions of people racist. And he also then said that solving these problems would go quickly and easily.

MARTIN: So this discussion in Dallas happened before a campaign fundraiser. He's officially back on the trail. And his first rally since the pandemic struck is going to be a week from today in Tulsa, Okla., which is controversial. Explain why.

KEITH: There are a few reasons. First of all, Tulsa is the site of a racially-driven massacre that the city is still reconciling with a hundred years later. It was June 1921. The neighborhood known as Black Wall Street was destroyed by white mobs. The rally also lands on Juneteenth, a holiday that marks the anniversary of the last slaves in America finally being told they were free. But Tulsa's Juneteenth festival had to be canceled this year due to coronavirus concerns. And although Oklahoma has a relatively low caseload with coronavirus, the president's rally is going to be in this arena that holds 19,000 people. And in fact, the campaign is asking people to click a disclaimer when they get tickets saying that they understand there's a risk of exposure to coronavirus and that they will not hold the campaign or venue liable.

MARTIN: And just briefly, Tam, President Trump is moving his Republican National Convention speech. What happened?

KEITH: Charlotte wouldn't let him have, you know, a big event without without masks. He wanted no social distancing. So Jacksonville's going to let him have the big party. And Charlotte will get the business of the convention.

MARTIN: All right. We'll have more on that. White House correspondent Tamara Keith, thank you.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
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