On Wednesday (March 28) White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the shooting of African-Americans by law enforcement is a "local matter" and should be handled by "local authorities."
Sanders' comments come after California police shot unarmed Stephon Clark 20 times in his grandmother's backyard, and Louisiana's attorney general announced it would not file charges against the two officers responsible for Alton Sterling's death.
"Certainly, we want to make sure that all law enforcement is carrying out the letter of the law. The President is very supportive of law enforcement, but at the same time in these specific cases and these specific instances, those will be left up to the local authorities," Sanders said.
Before segwaying to Trump's proposed economic plan aimed at benefit all Americans, Sanders doubled down on the deaths of unarmed black and women not being a federal matter.
"Certainly a terrible incident, and it should be left up to the local authorities," Sanders said.
During a July 2017 rally in Suffolk County to combat violence caused by MS-13 gangs, Donald Trump encouraged law enforcement to not be "too nice" to suspected criminals, drawing a round of applause from members of law enforcement in the audience.
"When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough," Trump said. "I said, 'Please don't be too nice.' "
"Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you're protecting their head," Trump continued. "The way you put their hand over — like, don't hit their head and they just killed somebody, don't hit their head. I said, 'You can take the hand away, OK?'"
Police Commissioner James O'Neill of the New York Police Department quickly distanced himself from the president's violent rhetoric.
"To suggest that police officers apply any standard in the use of force other than what is reasonable and necessary is irresponsible, unprofessional and sends the wrong message to law enforcement as well as the public," O'Neill said in a statement.