While campaigning in New Hampshire, Texas Senator Ted Cruz accused Barack Obama of inciting the ambush murder of Harris County Deputy Darren Gofourth. Gofourth was shot 15 times while pumping gas in Houston Texas Friday evening.
Senator Cruz tried to exploit the murder to score political points with Republicans, by assigning blame to President Obama. The Texas Senator lashed out, saying:
Cops across this country are feeling the assault. They’re feeling the assault from the president, from the top on down, as we see — whether it’s in Ferguson or Baltimore, the response from senior officials, the president or the attorney general, is to vilify law enforcement. That’s wrong. It’s fundamentally wrong. It’s endangering all of our safety and security.
Senator Cruz is of course misrepresenting President Obama’s attitudes towards law enforcement officers. While the president has been critical of abusive police conduct, he has not vilified law enforcement officers, nor has he denigrated their chosen profession. The president supports police officers who lawfully carry out their responsibilities.
Your jobs are inherently dangerous. The reminders are too common. We cannot erase every darkness or danger from the duty that you’ve chosen. We can offer you the support you need to be safer. We can make the communities you care about and protect safer as well.
Most of all we can say thank you. We can say we appreciate you and we’re grateful for the work you do every day.
Furthermore, contrary to right-wing mythology, the president also has been harshly critical of violent anti-police protests, arguing that there is no excuse for demonstrations that turn violent.
There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive. When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting, they’re not making a statement, they’re stealing.
When NYPD police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were murdered in December 2014, Obama stated unequivocally:
I unconditionally condemn today’s murder of two police officers in New York City. Two brave men won’t be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification.
Ted Cruz is desperately trying to paint President Barack Obama as some kind of anti-cop radical who vilifies police officers, but that false caricature bears no connection to reality. The simple fact that President Obama expects law enforcement officers to follow the law they are entrusted with enforcing, does not mean he is anti-police. It means he supports the police and appreciates those who perform their job in a professional and lawful manner. Holding police officers to that standard is neither anti-police nor is it an incitement to murder.
Only in Ted Cruz’s twisted mind, can Barack Obama be called anything other than supportive of responsible law enforcement officers in America. Nothing the president has said or done should give any reason for a rational person to believe that he is encouraging the senseless unprovoked murder of police officers.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.