At the annual National Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony held today in Washington, DC, President Donald Trump spoke emotionally about the bravery of officers killed in the line of duty and the grief felt by their families.
"They are the very best of us. Nobody comes close," the president said.
Trump repeated his calls for a federal capital punishment for cop killers. "They should immediately with trial get the death penalty," he said, adding, "The trial must be fair, but it's got to go fast."
The ceremony was attended not only by law enforcement professionals and government VIPs but also by the families of officers killed in the line of duty.
Trump told the stories of five officers who were killed in 2018: Patrolman James White and Cpl. Zach Moak of the Brookhaven (MS) Police Department, Sgt. Terrence Carraway and Investigator Farrah Turner of the Florence (SC) Police Department, and Cpl. Ronil Singh of the Newman (CA) Police Department.
The families of these officers and some of their agency comrades were in attendance and Trump asked them to stand as the audience applauded. The family of Cpl. Singh was invited to the stage where they received hugs and handshakes from the president. They also spoke of their desire for justice—the suspect is in custody—and support for Trump.
Cpl. Singh was a legal immigrant from Fiji. The suspect accused of murdering him at a traffic stop on Christmas night was reportedly an illegal immigrant who was captured fleeing for Mexico several days after Cpl. Singh's murder.
The story of Cpl. Singh's murder and the background of his suspected killer led Trump into a discussion of border security. "He could have been kept out," the president said of the suspect. He then argued for building the "wall" or "whatever the hell it takes" to secure the border.
Trump also came down hard on prosecutors who decline to prosecute criminals. "Every prosecutor takes an oath to uphold the law not advance a political agenda," he said. To much applause, he also said people who file false police reports should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, which was a clear jab at Cook County (IL) State's Attorney Kim Foxx and her decision not to pursue the Jussie Smollett case.
Addressing the families and friends of the fallen, Trump closed out his speech, saying: "Your loved ones were the finest and the bravest. They did not run. They did not hide. They answered the call."