President Trump took an indirect shot at his predecessor and the Black Lives Matter movement on Monday when he announced that he would bathe the White House in blue light to honor fallen police officers. In a ceremony in which he proclaimed Monday “Peace Officer Memorial Day,” Trump also declared that all American flags be flown at half-mast to further memorialize cops killed in the line of duty.
“During Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, we honor the men and women of law enforcement who have been killed or disabled in the course of serving our communities. Police officers are the thin blue line whose sacrifices protect and serve us every day, and we pledge to support them as they risk their lives to safeguard ours,” Trump said.
President Obama was urged to light the White House blue following the police massacre in Dallas last year, but he refrained for reasons that went unexplained. Certainly, it was not because he had a problem with the lighting concept in general; Obama had no problem bathing the White House in rainbow lights after the Supreme Court decision on gay marriage.
That slight might have gone unnoticed, of course, were it not for Obama’s repeated and relentless attack on police officers. He hid these attacks – wrapped them up in the blanket language of respect and prudence – but they were attacks nonetheless. He emphasized the need for police reform and his Justice Department went out of its way to investigate police departments around the country.
Trump has made it clear that his presidency marks a new day when it comes to how police officers are treated in the U.S. On Monday, he criticized other politicians for failing to support police in an era where they felt increasingly under attack – both physically, and, as Trump noted, through the “unfair defamation and vilification” they’ve gotten from the American press.
“We must end the reckless words of incitement that give rise to danger and violence, and take the time to work with cops, not against them, not obstruct them – which is what we’re doing,” Trump said.
To police officers who never felt like the previous administration had their backs, those words must have felt like a breath of fresh air.