Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is following up a week of supposed outreach to black voters with calls for "tougher" police to go on the "counterattack" in the communities they serve.
Trump's most recent comments came during an appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" Monday in which host Bill O’Reilly asked Trump about some of his previous comments on community-police relations and his promise that "chaos and violence" in cities like Milwaukee would come to a halt under a Trump presidency.
“So, specifically, specifically. How do you do it? How do you do it?” O’Reilly asked.
“You have unbelievable—how? By being very much tougher than they are right now,” Trump replied. “They are right now not tough. I mean, I could tell you this very long and quite boring story but when I was in Chicago, I got to meet a couple of very top police. I said, ‘How do you stop this? How do you stop this? If you were put in charge,’ to a specific person, ‘Do you think you could stop it?’ He said, ‘Mr. Trump, I would be able to stop it in one week.’ And I believed him 100 percent.”
“They are not being respected by our leadership and they literally—they don’t have spirit,” the Republican nominee added later. “They lose their spirit. Every time something happens, it’s the police’s fault.”
“You have to give them back their spirit,” Trump insisted.
Not to be outdone, O’Reilly then asked Trump his thoughts on how to keep "bad guys" from attacking officers.
“By giving them back your spirit and by allowing them to go and counterattack,” Trump answered.
Despite Trump and O’Reilly's preoccupation with "chaos and violence" in cities, "bad guys," and violent attacks on police, an analysis done by the Brennan Center finds that murder rates in the 30 largest urban cities are still at "all-time historic lows" based on figures from the FBI released at the end of 2015.
"In 1990 there were 29.3 murders per 100,000 residents in these cities. In 2000, there were 13.8 murders per 100,000. Now, there are 9.9 murders per 100,000 residents," Brennan's Matthew Friedman reported. "Averaged across the cities, we find that while Americans in urban areas have experienced more murders this year than last year, they are safer than they were five years ago and much safer than they were 25 years ago."
The Brennan Center also found that overall crime in the 19 largest cities dropped by 1.5 percent from 2014 to 2015 and was down 22 percent since 2010 and 66 percent since 1990.
In addition, while attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge did increase the total number of cops killed in the line of duty, there are still more officers killed in traffic and by other causes (38) than guns (37,) according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
With no evidence of increases in attacks on the police or crime in major cities, it's hard to know which bad guys O’Reilly and Trump think officers should counterattack to boost morale. On the other hand, if Trump's comments aren't an actually policy proposal, they could be just another joke, like when he suggested that "Second Amendment people" stop Hillary Clinton from getting elected and nominating a Supreme Court justice.