Former President Trump has long spoken admiringly of police officers who use aggressive force on the job. He has pointed to his unwavering support for local law enforcement, presenting himself as a “law and order” candidate who would help the police tackle violent crime. As Trump campaigns again for the White House, he has added a new promise to his speeches on the trail: to “indemnify” police officers and protect them from the financial consequences of lawsuits accusing them of misconduct. “We are going to indemnify them, so they don’t lose their wife, their family, their pension and their job,” he said this month in New York, reports the New York Times. Experts say Trump’s proposal — which he first raised in October and has floated five times this month — would have little effect and would largely enforce the status quo.
Police officers in most jurisdictions are already protected from being held financially responsible for wrongdoing. They also benefit from a legal doctrine that can shield officers accused of misconduct from lawsuits seeking damages. Trump has often pledged allegiance to the police as a way to attack Democrats, accusing them of being more concerned about progressive ideas than public safety. For decades, he has assailed calls for police reform, arguing that such changes hinder officers from using aggressive crime-fighting tactics. His promise to indemnify officers shows a contradiction at the heart of his current campaign. Even as he proclaims his steadfast support for rank-and-file officers, he has been raging against federal and state law enforcement officials who have led the four criminal cases against him, resulting in 91 felony charges. Trump meets with law enforcement groups on the campaign trail and poss with officers who are part of his motorcade. He often posts photos and videos of the interactions on social media.