WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump signed three executive orders Thursday that he said were “designed to restore safety in America.”
One order would “break the back of criminal cartels,” another creates a “task force on reducing violent crime” and the third instructs the Justice Department — under newly installed Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to formulate a plan to stop crime against law enforcement officers, Trump said.
“A new era of justice begins, and it begins right now,” he said in an appearance in the Oval Office.
The orders show the administration stands “behind the police officers who risk their lives every day to protect us and our communities, reducing crime, and stopping cartel violence,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
The nonpartisan Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, based in Washington, D.C., criticized the orders as “perpetuating the false notion that there is a war on cops in our country and that violent crime is systemic and widespread. There is no data that supports either notion.”
But Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) applauded Trump for acting “at a time when police officers are being targeted for attack and murdered, and too many political leaders make heroes out of attempted cop killers like Michael Brown,” who was fatally shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.
Under Trump’s order to curb violence against law enforcement officers, Sessions is to develop a strategy with agencies at all levels of government to prosecute people who target police.
All three orders call for studies or reviews with findings to be reported to the president.
Trump signed the executive orders at Sessions’ swearing-in.
Trump regularly touts his support for law enforcement. He was received warmly this week at meetings with county sheriffs, at which he discussed fighting illegal immigration and drugs, and with the Major Cities Chiefs Association.
The president met earlier Thursday at the White House with airline executives. He told them he intends to help companies hire more employees by scaling back “burdensome” regulations and lowering the “overall tax burden” on businesses.