LTE: Only One Person to Blame

In the span of a single week, Donald Trump managed to push three major organizations — ones which, idealistically, ought to be in his corner — to issue stinging public rebukes to the president over his numerous offensive statements and actions.

The Boy Scouts of America, the Pentagon, and both individual police departments as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police all took their turn lambasting Trump in front of the nation.

Monday, at the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree, Trump gave a bizarre, inappropriate, and oddly political speech to the crowd of young people, in which he whined about “fake news,” boasted about his electoral college win while complaining about the unfairness of the system, and inspired boos against former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Parents threatened to pull their children out of the program in response to Trump’s rant.

And the head of the Boy Scouts eventually had to apologize for the spectacle: “I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” Michael Surbaugh, chief executive scout for the Boy Scouts of America, said. “That was never our intent.”

Two days later, Trump announced — on Twitter — that he was reversing an Obama era policy andbanning transgender Americans from serving in the military, a move that reportedly blindsided the Pentagon and was met with alarm and swift opposition from the military and from many Republicans in Congress.

Trump tweeted out the policy while his secretary of defense was on vacation, and the Pentagon responded by slow-rolling any possible implementation of a transgender ban.

“There will be no modifications to the current policy until the President’s direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Marine Gen. Joe Dunford, wrote to top military officers on Thursday. “In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect.”

Proving that his penchant for harming people truly knows no bounds, Trump later stood in front of hundreds of cops and openly encouraged police brutality.

The reaction to his racially-tinged language — including calling for roughing up “thugs” and encouragement to assault suspects as they are being placed into police custody — has been a mix of shock, outrage, and disgust.

Even though the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Donald Trump in the 2016 campaign, police departments around the country rebuked Trump’s words, including the very department to which Trump was speaking:

Beyond individual police departments, the International Association of Chiefs of Police put outa statement noting that Trump’s violent rhetoric has the potential to undermine “procedural justice and police legitimacy.”

Managing use of force is one of the most difficult challenges faced by law enforcement agencies. The ability of law enforcement officers to enforce the law, protect the public, and guard their own safety, the safety of innocent bystanders, and even those suspected or apprehended for criminal activity is very challenging. For these reasons, law enforcement agencies develop policies and procedures, as well as conduct extensive training, to ensure that any use of force is carefully applied and objectively reasonable considering the situation confronted by the officers.

Law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect. This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy.

On top of the Senate rejecting Trump’s primary goal of repealing Obamacare and being forced by Congress to cave on sanctions against Russia, Trump skulks away to his month-long vacation in humiliated defeat on a number of fronts.

And as much as he would like to cast blame far and wide, there is only one person to blame: Donald J. Trump.

-Laura Hubka

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