PITTSBURGH - In an keynote in Pittsburgh Thursday, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump addressed the racial riots that are escalating in Charlotte North Carolina this week.
Before going any further today, I want to address the turmoil unfolding right now in our country.
Our country desperately needs unity, and it needs the spirit of togetherness that has not only got us through our toughest times – but which has lifted us up, in the past, to our greatest achievements as a nation. Every day, I see people of different backgrounds working together for a common good, and we need to bring that spirit to every part of our country – and become One American Nation, united by our shared values and principles as American Citizens.
We all have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, see things through their eyes, and then get to work fixing our wounded country.
Many Americans are watching the unrest in Charlotte unfolding on their TV screens. Others are witnessing the chaos and the violence firsthand.
Our country looks bad to the world, especially when we are supposed to be the leader. How can we lead when we can't even control our own cities.
We honor and recognize the right of all Americans to peacefully assemble, protest and demonstrate. But there is no right to engage in violent disruption, or to threaten the public safety and peace.
Every single American in this country is entitled to live in a safe community. The violence against our citizens, and our law enforcement, must be brought to an end.
The people who will suffer the most as a result of these riots, are law-abiding African-American residents who live in these communities. It is their jobs, housing markets, schools and economic conditions that will suffer – and the first duty of government is to protect their well-being and safety.
There is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct. Crime and violence is an attack on the poor, and will never be accepted in a Trump Administration.
Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the violent disruptor, but to make life more comfortable for the African-American parent trying to raise their kids in peace.
For every one violent protestor, there are thousands of moms and dads and kids in that same community who just want to be able to sleep safely at night.
More law enforcement, more community engagement, more effective policing is what our country needs.
Last year, we saw a 17% rise in violent crime in our fifty largest cities. Homicides are up nearly 50% in Washington, D.C. and more than 60% in Baltimore.
More than 3,000 have been shot in Chicago so far this year alone.
Nationwide, approximately 60% of murder victims under the age of 22 are African-American.
This is a national crisis, and it is the job of the next President to work with our governors and mayors to address this crisis and save African-American lives.
Look at the example of Mayor Rudy Giuliani in New York. The policies he put into place ultimately brought down crime by 76 percent and murder by 84 percent. Think of how many families these policies saved from the worst heartache imaginable.
We need a national anti-crime agenda to make our cities safe again.
I will appoint the best prosecutors, investigators and federal law enforcement officers in the country to dismantle the international cartels, gangs and criminal syndicates – and I will stop the drugs from flowing into our country.
My Administration will work with local communities and local officials to make the reduction of crime a top priority.
Safety is the foundation of the ladder to American success: a great education, and a good-paying job. To have the best schools, and the best jobs, you must have safe communities.
That means we must recognize the contributions of our police, who come from all backgrounds and all walks of life, and who often thanklessly risk their own lives to protect the innocent.
We all remember, earlier this year, when officers in Dallas – hunted down for execution – continued protecting the public until their last moments on earth.
Every day, police officers risk their lives for complete strangers and, every year, many of them will go out on calls and never return.
Police are entrusted with immense responsibility, and we must do everything we can to ensure they are properly trained, that they respect all members of the public, and that any wrongdoing is always vigorously addressed.
But our men and women in blue also need our support, our thanks, and our gratitude. They are the line separating civilization from total chaos.
They are also the front lines of defense in the War on Terror, as we saw recently with their quick action following the terrorist attacks in New Jersey, and New York, and the off-duty police officer’s heroic actions in Minnesota.
In addition to providing safety, we must provide economic opportunity. That begins with school choice, and leads to a secure job with a rising income.