Obama urges Americans to tamp down inflammatory rhetoric

‘We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies attacks on law enforcement’

President Barack Obama leaves briefing room of the White House Sunday, July 17, 2016, after speaking about the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Barack Obama leaves briefing room of the White House Sunday, July 17, 2016, after speaking about the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge, La. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — Confronting another killing of police officers, President Barack Obama on Sunday urged Americans to tamp down inflammatory words and actions as a violent summer collides with the nation’s heated presidential campaign.

Obama said the motive behind Sunday’s killing of three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was still unknown. It was the latest in a string of deadly incidents involving law enforcement, including the police shooting of a black man in Baton Rouge and the killing of five officers in Dallas.

“We as a nation have to be loud and clear that nothing justifies attacks on law enforcement,” Obama said in remarks from the White House briefing room.

The president spoke on the eve of the Republican Party’s national convention, where Donald Trump will officially accept the GOP nomination. The businessman has cast the recent incidents as a sign that the country needs new leadership, often using heated rhetoric to make his point.

“Every one right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further,” Obama said.

The president spoke earlier Sunday with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden to hear the latest on the investigation into the shootings and pledge federal support.

Obama has spent most of the last week focused on defusing tensions and rebuilding trust between police departments and the communities they serve.

On July 7, an Army veteran opened fire on law enforcement in Dallas, killing five and wounding seven other officers. The shooter, who was black, said he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers. Obama spoke at the memorial service for the officers killed and told Americans not to despair, that the nation is not as divided as it might seem.

The next day, Obama held an extraordinary four-hour meeting at the White House’s executive offices with police officers, community activists and elected leaders, emerging from the session saying “we’re not even close” to the point where minority communities could feel confident that police departments were serving them with respect and equality or where police departments could feel adequately supported at all levels.

The shooting of the police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge were preceded by police shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Philando Castile in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota, which sparked protests around the country. Dallas police were defending protesters in that city when the gunman opened fire on them.

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Obama urges Americans to tamp down inflammatory rhetoric

  1. Should Trump become President, this will unbalance the situation to a point in the extreme. Trump is incapable of recognizing his rhetoric is inflaming the situation and will take any path necessary to the presidency, even if that means a group of individuals die. There is, seriously something wrong with this man. He should be ashamed but that would require reason, wouldn’t it?

    • lol yea, that’s the standard media line: blame Trump. Anti-Trump protesters attack people at a Trump rally? It’s Trump’s fault. Black people gassed up on BLM rhetoric start murdering cops? Trump’s fault. Hell, a Muslim shot up a gay club and killed almost 50 people and the leftist media tried to lay that at Trump’s door. I’m surprised they haven’t tried to blame him for the Nice attack.

      This is precisely why Trump has gained so much traction in the US: so many people are sick of the dishonesty coming from the left.

  2. Obama himself has had many chances to at least try to bring some reason into the conversation. Instead he has fanned the flames himself – he’s made statements that, though worded very subtly, are inflammatory. He has never got into the actual statistics of police shootings, or the crime in the black-majority neighbourhoods where many of the shootings take place. Look at that speech after the 2 recent shootings, right before the Dallas incident. He gave cherry picked stats and straight up told black people that they’re being systematically targeted by police. He even used the memorial service for the slain Dallas officers to slip in some of his rhetoric.

    Let’s just be honest, the leftist media has been pushing this for a while: anti-cop and anti-white rhetoric. It’s given a platform to a Marxist group called BLM and has been complicit in their attempts to foment tensions; any dissent to BLM is framed as racist. It’s led us to this point. It’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

  3. Is Obama going to take his own advice and “tamp down” his own inflammatory rhetoric? With these last two shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota, before any investigation had taken place, he implies that Sterling and Castile were killed due to racism in law enforcement. That the Associated Press can claim that Obama is attempting to defuse these racial tensions is absurd. His words matter, and when, without evidence, he suggests that young black men are being killed by police officers simply because of the colour of their skin, that is the very opposite of attempting to defuse anything.

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