During ABC's town hall on policing and race Thursday night, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick made it his business to scold President Obama for not letting police know "in his heart" that he supported them.
Taking an arrogant posture, Patrick proceeded to lecture President Obama on how to respond to police shootings, telling him to “consider being careful when there is an incident of not being too quick to condemn the police without due process and until the facts are known.”
“Obama responded by smacking down his entire assertion, saying that he’s been “unequivocal” in condemning anti-police rhetoric, he’s always shown support law enforcement, and would be happy to send Patrick the evidence of such.
Patrick insisted cops need to “know it in their heart.”
The president said he has been consistent in calling for fair treatment, but that “in the aggregate” there are clear racial disparities in the justice system.aid yesterday were not the ones Patrick quoted, but were, instead, a good deal more nuanced:
As Tommy Christopher notes, Patrick misquoted and misstated what the president said at the panel discussion he held on policing and race the day before.
I do not want to gloss over the fact that not only are there very real problems but there are still deep divisions about how to solve these problems. There’s no doubt that police departments still feel embattled and unjustly accused. And there is no doubt that minority communities, communities of color still feel like it just takes too long to do what’s right. And the pace of change is going to feel too fast for some and too slow for others. And sadly, because this is a huge country that is very diverse and we have a lot of police departments, I think it is fair to say that we will see more tension in police — between police and communities this month, next month, next year, for quite some time.
The one thing I think we all have to do, though, is not paper over those differences or paper over those problems, but we do have to try to constructively solve them and not simply win talking point arguments and not just give voice to what we’re feeling at the moment. We have to, as a country, sit down and just grind it out, solve these problems. And I think if we have that kind of sustained commitment, I’m confident we can do so.
Which isn't the same at all as suggesting President Obama was in any way condemning the police at all.
I agree with Tommy on this one. Words matter, Governor Patrick. All words matter. And when you twist them to score political points, you prove President Obama to be right. Because he is.