What to Know
- Vice President Mike Pence told Philadelphia police officers that President Donald Trump "backed the Blue" and that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden would cut funding for police if he was elected in November.
- Pence and Biden worked the campaign trail Thursday in Pennsylvania with fewer than four months until the election.
- Recent polls show Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, leading Republican President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania.
Vice President Mike Pence told Philadelphia police officers that President Donald Trump "backed the Blue" and that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden would cut funding for police if he was elected in November.
Speaking at a lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police on Thursday, Pence took aim at the Minneapolis city council for defunding the police department, as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for cuts to law enforcement.
"I want you to hear this directly from me. Under this president, and this administration, we're not going to defund the police. Not now, not ever," he said.
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Pence's speech focused on rejecting the idea that reducing police budgets will help solve problems.
"We don't need to choose between supporting the police and African American families here in Philadelphia and in America," Pence said.
Pence touted the executive order that Trump signed last month to create a database to track police officers with multiple instances of misconduct.
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"Nobody hates bad cops more than good cops," Pence said.
Trump's executive order also uses federal grants to encourage departments to meet certain higher certification standards on use of force.
Pence decried the killing of George Floyd while in police custody, saying "justice will be done."
But he also condemned the violence that came in the aftermath of the killing.
"We will join with you to stand against the rioters, and the looters and the anarchists who would pull down our statues and try and destroy our communities," he said.
He also touted Trump's record on the economy before the economic freefall that occurred at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pence also met with the Philadelphia police officers who survived the shootout in Nicetown last summer as well as the family of Corporal Jimmy O'Connor, who was killed while serving a warrant earlier this year.
Pence's appearance in Philadelphia drew both supporters and protesters who gathered outside the FOP Lodge. The opposing groups stood on opposite sides of the street.
One protester told NBC10 he didn't believe Pence should visit the FOP due to the current national debate over policing.
"I think it's wrong right now that he promotes a program of fascism and part of it is visiting the FOP," Sam Goldman of Refuse Fascism said.
Another member of the crowd, community activist Asteria Vives, said it was possible to support both police and law enforcement reform at the same time.
"We are here to support our good police officers, our dedicated police officers," Vives said. "We don't stereotype. All police officers are not the same.
Some local democrats opposed Pence's visit to the FOP and released a statement.
Before speaking at the FOP Lodge, Pence took a bus tour from Lancaster to Philadelphia, including taking part in a roundtable discussion at Rajant Corp., a suburban Philadelphia maker of wireless communication technology.
He also attended a fundraiser in Manheim. Bob Asher, Pennsylvania's Republican national committeeman, said he expects to meet the fundraiser's $1 million goal to benefit President Donald Trump's reelection campaign.
Pence's visit to the Philadelphia region Thursday and the important presidential battleground state of Pennsylvania came on the same day his predecessor, Joe Biden, campaigned in the Keystone State.
Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, on Thursday toured a metal works plant in Dunmore in northeastern Pennsylvania and speaking about his economic recovery plan, the campaign said.
Biden, who grew up in nearby Scranton, targeted a region where President Donald Trump showed unexpected strength in the 2016 election, when he narrowly won Pennsylvania and shifted the state’s electoral votes to the Republican column for the first time since 1988.
Pence and Biden worked the campaign trail in Pennsylvania with fewer than four months until the election, with recent polls showing Biden leading in Pennsylvania.
Pence was last in Pennsylvania last month. Biden, whose campaign headquarters are in Philadelphia, has already made several campaign appearances in Pennsylvania in recent weeks.