In speech for fallen officers, Trump touts policies and rails against sanctuary cities

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump used an event that honored fallen law enforcement officers on Tuesday to rail against sanctuary cities and the MS-13 gang as he called for the death penalty for those who kill police officers.

“We’re calling on Congress to secure our borders, support our border agents, stop sanctuary cities, and shutdown polities that release violent criminals back into our communities,” Trump said during a speech in conjunction with  National Police Week, an annual event that convenes in the nation’s capital.

“We are the ones who are taking back the streets. We are getting them out of our country by the thousands. Every week we’re setting new records,” Trump said, referring to immigrant members of MS-13. “We’re getting them out or we’re putting them in prison.”

Trump also took aim at criticism of law enforcement and called for respect for police officers.

18 PHOTOS
National Police Week 2018
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National Police Week 2018
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Law enforcement officers hold candles during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump hugs Adrianna Valoy, the mother of slain New York City police Detective Miosotis Familia, during the 37th Annual National Peace Officers? Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
UNITED STATES - MAY 14: Members of the Boca Raton Police Department wait to participate in a competition near the Capitol Reflecting Pool that was part of National Police Week on May 14, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
A police officer from Arizona salutes at the 37th Annual National Peace Officers? Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Law enforcement officers hold candles during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 14: From left, Drum Major Ken Misch, Drum Sgt. Charlie Ezelle, Roberto 'Boom Boom' Lopez, and Sgt. Michael Apodaca, of the Los Angeles Police Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, smoke cigars near the Capitol Reflection Pool after participating in a competition that was part of National Police Week on May 14, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Law enforcement officers hold candles during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Law enforcement officers, family members and other guests hold candles during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Members of the United States Park Police Honor Guard are pictured during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: The U.S. Capitol Building is pictured during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump gives remarks at the 37th Annual National Peace Officers? Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: Law enforcement officers, family members, and other guests hold candles during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop of Washington, greets police officers ourside St. Patrick's Catholic Church prior to the 24th annual 'Blue Mass' May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The annual mass is held at the beginning of National Police Week for those in law enforcement and fire safety, remembering those who have fallen, and supporting those who serve. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: Members of law enforcement take communion in St. Patrick's Catholic Church during the 24th annual 'Blue Mass' May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The annual mass is held at the beginning of National Police Week for those in law enforcement and fire safety, remembering those who have fallen, and supporting those who serve. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: Members of a law enforcement honor guard team march into St. Patrick's Catholic Church for the 24th annual 'Blue Mass' May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The annual mass is held at the beginning of National Police Week for those in law enforcement and fire safety, remembering those who have fallen, and supporting those who serve. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (2nd R), Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (C) and FBI Director Christoper Wray (2nd L) attend the 24th annual 'Blue Mass' at St. Patrick's Catholic Church May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The annual mass is held at the beginning of National Police Week for those in law enforcement and fire safety, remembering those who have fallen, and supporting those who serve. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 13: A member of the U.S. Park Police Honor Guard salutes during a candlelight vigil marking National Police Week on May 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
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“We must stand up for our police, we must confront and condemn dangerous anti-police prejudice. Can you believe this prejudice with respect to our police?” Trump said. “We’re not going to let bad things happen to our police.”

Amid remarks recognizing fallen officers and their families, Trump also touted his administration’s decision to reverse Obama-era limits that prevented police departments acquiring particular types of military equipment. Now, Trump said, police were grabbing up free surplus military equipment “at a record clip.”

Chuck Canterbury, the president of the national Fraternal Order of Police, introduced Trump to the audience. He called on Congress to pass a law that would create new federal penalties for those who killed officers. Civil rights groups have opposed the legislation, saying the “superfluous” legislation promotes the “untrue... unhelpful and dangerous” narrative that there’s a “war on police” and “will have a negative impact on the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

“We are targeted by scorn, by disrespect, and by all too often violence. We have come to learn that we cannot always count on elected leadership in our country to have our back,” Canterbury said before praising Trump’s support for officers.

28 PHOTOS
A look at the MS-13 crime organization
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A look at the MS-13 crime organization
Shackled gang members stand in a line upon their arrival at a maximum security prison in Zacatecoluca, 65 km east of San Salvador, on January 25, 2017. Twenty-seven gang members arrested in connection with the murders of policemen and soldiers were transferred on Wednesday to Zacatecoluca maximum security prison. The Salvadorean authorities reported that all of them were members of the violent MS-13 gang. / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Gang members are escorted upon their arrival at a maximum security prison in Zacatecoluca, 65 km east of San Salvador, on January 25, 2017. Twenty-seven gang members arrested in connection with the murders of policemen and soldiers were transferred on Wednesday to Zacatecoluca maximum security prison. The Salvadorean authorities reported that all of them were members of the violent MS-13 gang. / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Gang members are escorted upon their arrival at a maximum security prison in Zacatecoluca, 65 km east of San Salvador, on January 25, 2017. Twenty-seven gang members arrested in connection with the murders of policemen and soldiers were transferred on Wednesday to Zacatecoluca maximum security prison. The Salvadorean authorities reported that all of them were members of the violent MS-13 gang. / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
A former gang member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang attends a tattoo removal session at the National Youth Institute (Injuve) in San Salvador, on July 1, 2016. The tattoo removal project, promoted by the government of Salvador, is attended daily by dozens of people - mostly young former gang members seeking to put an end to the stigma that associates them with the dreaded gangs. / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Shackled gang members wait upon arrival at the maximum security prison in Zacatecoluca, 65 km east of San Salvador, on December 1, 2016. Twenty gang members arrested in connection with the murders of policemen and soldiers were transferred on December 1 to Zacatecoluca. The Salvadoran authorities reported that all of them were members of the violent MS-13 gang. / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Alleged members of the 18 gang gesture as they walk during their presentation to the press in San Salvador on February 26, 2016. Members of the national civil police and the armed forces captured 240 dangerous gang members accused of homicide and extortion in the last three days in different areas of El Salvador, informed Friday the public prosecutor's office. El Salvador faces an escalation of violence attributed mostly to the war between the MS-13 and 18 ST gangs. AFP PHOTO / Marvin RECINOS / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
An alleged member of a gang gestures as he is transported after being presented to the press in San Salvador on February 26, 2016. Members of the national civil police and the armed forces captured 240 dangerous gang members accused of homicide and extortion in the last three days in different areas of El Salvador, informed Friday the public prosecutor's office. El Salvador faces an escalation of violence attributed mostly to the war between the MS-13 and 18 ST gangs. AFP PHOTO / Marvin RECINOS / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
A bomb squad specialist gets ready to make a controlled explosion after suspicious artifacts were found in Habitat, a colony 25 km south of Tegucigalpa, on May 4, 2016. Security forces participating in Operation Hurricane found several explosive devices in an area controlled by gangs Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). / AFP / ORLANDO SIERRA (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang captured by soldiers during an operation to recover neighborhoods controlled by gangs, in Quezaltepeque, a town 15 km from San Salvador, on June 7, 2016. The Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street gangs are the main cause of the escalation of violence plaguing El Salvador, where an estimated 60,000 people belong to gangs, 15,000 of them in prison. / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members wait to be escorted upon their arrival at the maximum-security jail in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members wait to be escorted upon their arrival at the maximum-security jail in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members wait to be escorted upon their arrival at the maximum-security jail in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members wait to be escorted upon their arrival at the maximum-security jail in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
Members of the MS-13 gang are detained near the crime scene where two men, Jose Wilfredo Navidad and Nestor Alexander Rivera, were killed as they rode a motorcycle on their way to work, in San Salvador, El Salvador January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang members wait to be escorted upon their arrival at the maximum security jail in Zacatecoluca, December 1, 2016. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
A police officer paints over a graffiti associated with the Mara Salvatrucha gang in the Montreal neighborhood in Mejicanos, El Salvador December 9, 2015. The El Salvadorean police is conducting an operation to erase graffiti associated with gangs as part of a strategy to regain control in gang-controlled areas in this neighborhood, according to the police. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
Members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang are guarded by policemen upon their arrival at the Quezaltepeque jail in Quezaltepeque, El Salvador, March 29, 2016. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
Two women and a child walk near a wall covered in graffiti and showing the letters "MS", which stand for street gang Mara Salvatrucha, in a neighborhood in San Salvador April 22, 2014. Church leaders in El Salvador on Tuesday said they want to revive a fragile truce between the country's powerful street gangs in order to curb a resurgence of violent crime. The 2012 truce between the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and rival gang Barrio 18 helped cut the Central American country's murder rate in mid-2013 to around five per day, a 10-year low, from around 12 a day. REUTERS/Jessica Orellana (EL SALVADOR - Tags: CRIME LAW CIVIL UNREST POLITICS)
Carlos Tiberio Ramirez, one of the leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gang attends the Day of the Virgin of Mercy celebrations at the female prison in San Salvador September 24, 2012. About 2008 female inmates, 40% of them belonging to the MS-13 and 18 Street (Mara 18) gangs, interacted with their families as part of the celebrations for the Day of the Virgin of Mercy, the patron Saint of prisoners, local media reported. During the event, the spokesmen and leaders of the two largest gangs in the country, MS-13 and 18st, gave a news conference to mark the 200-days of an unprecedented truce signed on March 19, that authorities say has cut the homicide rate in half in just four months. REUTERS/Ulises Rodriguez (EL SALVADOR - Tags: CIVIL UNREST CRIME LAW)
A convoy of military lorries transports inmates of the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (Ms-13) gangs from the Tamara National Penitentiary to the El Pozo II medium security prison in Moroceli, El Paraiso department, 70 km east of Tegucigalpa, on May 16, 2017. The transfer of some 650 inmates was decided after the evasion of 22 members of the Barrio 18 gang from the penitentiary. / AFP PHOTO / ORLANDO SIERRA (Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)
Parolees paint over graffiti associated with the Mara Salvatrucha's gang in San Salvador, during an operation to take back gang-controlled neighborhoods, on August 16, 2016. The Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street gangs are the main cause of the violence escalation plaguing El Salvador, where an estimated 60,000 people belong to gangs, 15,000 of them in prison. / AFP / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read MARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of the 'Mara Salvatrucha' gang are kept in restraints in court in Guatemala City on July 28, 2015. At least three mara members were shot by rival gangsters while they were held under custody in a special jail located in the basement of the Supreme Court building. AFP PHOTO JOHAN ORDONEZ (Photo credit should read JOHAN ORDONEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), is pictured on Monday, March 4, 2013, in the Criminal Center of Ciudad Barrios, San Miguel, 160 km east of San Salvador, one year after the cessation of the violence between the rivalry of two large gangs in El Salvador, MS13 and 18 st. El Salvador, a small country of six million people, is brimming with an estimated 50,000 street gang members, plus another 10,000 who are behind bars. Since the first truce took effect about a year ago, the average daily death toll from gang-related violence has gone down from 14 to five. AFP PHOTO / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read Marvin RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), held on Monday, March 4, 2013, in the Criminal Center of Ciudad Barrios, San Miguel, 160 km east of San Salvador, after one year of cessation of the violence between the rivalry of two large gangs in El Salvador, MS13 and 18 st. El Salvador, a small country of six million people, is brimming with an estimated 50,000 street gang members, plus another 10,000 who are behind bars. Since the first truce took effect about a year ago, the average daily death toll from gang-related violence has gone down from 14 to five. AFP PHOTO / Marvin RECINOS (Photo credit should read Marvin RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images)
A Mara Salvatrucha gang member attends a press conference where leaders of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and Barrio 18 declared the city of Quezaltepeque a peace zone or 'Sanctuary City' for gang related violence, on January 31, 2013 at the Quezaltepeque prison, 25 kms west of San Salvador. Gang leaders and members have been involved in a gang truce to reduce crime in El Salvador. AFP PHOTO/ Juan CARLOS (Photo credit should read Juan CARLOS/AFP/Getty Images)
Carlos Tiberio Valladares, a.k.a. sniper, leader of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, attends a press conference at the Female Jail in San Salvador, El Salvador on September 24, 2012. The leaders of the Mara 18 and Salvatrucha offered a press conference during the celebration of the 200 days of truce between them to reduce murder. AFP PHOTO/Jose CABEZAS (Photo credit should read Jose CABEZAS/AFP/GettyImages)
SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR: Picture of a member of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, presented before the press after his arrest in San Salvador, 17 March 2005. Violence from street gangs, known in the region as 'maras,' are considered the most pressing security issues in large cities in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - countries which will take part in the Anti-Maras Meeting on April 1st, in Tegucigalpa. Many of the Central American gangs have members living in the United States, and during his recent visit to Guatemala, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced a possible increase in US aid for the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and gang violence in the region. AFP PHOTO/Yuri CORTEZ (Photo credit should read YURI CORTEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - MAY 12: (U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT AND NEWSWEEK OUT) Photos of gang members and the names of their gangs are shown by U.S. officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a press conference announcing the results of their efforts after arresting 95 members of Hispanic gangs from an operation that began in January 2005 on May 12, 2005 in New York City. The gang members are illegal residents and will be deported to their countries of origin. Of 33 gang members arrested in the past 72 hours, 11 are members of the most violent gang, Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13). Many of the 95 members arrested since January 2005 are members of Mexican mafia groups living in New York, Yonkers and Long Island. ICE officers are part of the federal government's Department of Homeland Security. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
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In a speech to the National Association of Police Organizations on Monday night, Attorney General Jeff Sessions also highlighted the Justice Department’s retreat from broader investigations of police departments that were conducted more routinely during the Obama administration.

“By the end of the previous administration many of you came to believe that some of the political leadership of this country had abandoned you,” Sessions said, blaming “radicals and politicians” maligning police as the problem.

“This is the Trump era. We support law enforcement,” Sessions said. ”Of course, we will continue to hold accountable any officer who violates the law and undermines the good work of our police. But we will not malign entire police departments. We will not try to micromanage their daily work all the way from Washington, D.C. We will not enter into agreements or court decrees that outsource policymaking to political activists.”

Sherrilyn Ifill, the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, called on Congress to step up oversight efforts in response to Sessions’ comments.

“Eschewing legal requirements and permitting systemic constitutional violations to go unaddressed is the opposite of what our communities need from the nation’s top cop,” she said. “Justice Department has a unique responsibility to enforce the law enforcement misconduct statute, and our elected officials should stop the Department from shirking its obligations. If the Attorney General and Congress are serious about increasing officer safety, they should double down on policing reform efforts, not abandon them.”

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter, covering the Justice Department, federal law enforcement, criminal justice and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at ryan.reilly@huffpost.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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