Steve Hilton: Trump's gains with African-Americans will be lost if he does not lead on police reform

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

What we're living through now, it actually started with a moment of national unity. The whole country was sickened by what happened in Minneapolis. We all came together to condemn a callous murder by a racist thug, besmirching a uniform that should be a symbol of respect and pride.

TRUMP MOCKS ROMNEY FOR MARCHING WITH PROTESTERS TO WHITE HOUSE: 'WHAT A GUY'

Instead, yet again, thanks to the brutality of a few, all police officers are seen by millions of our African-American neighbors as a violent threat, the direct opposite of how they should be seen by everyone. As Peggy Noonan put it this weekend, "We're now supposed to hate cops. No. Hate bad cops, help good ones. A great cop does as much to help society as a great doctor or nurse and it's in the line of fire."

What most protesters are advocating for -- an end to excessive police force and systemic racism -- that is justified and precisely because of the unity over George Floyd's murder, it felt like positive change might happen. President Trump immediately said the right things and did the right things. He spoke out forcefully and personally ordered a federal investigation at the highest level.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE OPINION NEWSLETTER

But then what happened? Peaceful, righteous protest was coopted, exploited with cynicism and nihilism by violent criminals, many of them organized to create chaos, fear, and anxiety. That in turn provoked a response by the police, at first too weak, then in too many cases too strong.

So, now everyone is back in their tribal camps, screaming at each other. Across the media, people are telling you this is either/or -- law and order or justice.

But it's not either-or. It is first-then -- first you have to restore order, then you have to bring justice. There was no progress with chaos.

We need to be fair and balanced. There's been too much casual brutality by the police. Of course, that's a minority. But the job of the police is to protect property for sure. It's also to protect protesters peacefully exercising their constitutional rights -- to protect them, not attack them.

It was sickening to see the looting and the violence.

Charles Stotts, owner of Town Talk Diner and Gastropub: It was a mess. It was horrible. But we figured a way to get it all boarded up and get ready for the next -- the next phase, which would be to clean it up, put it back together. And then Thursday night, the riot happened again and then Sunday, burnt to the ground.

This is my Maya Santamaria. Rioters burned down her building, which has the nightclub that George Floyd once worked at. "We were calling 911," she said. "And we were calling the police department, and there was no response."

Too many leaders were pathetic in the face of this disorder. We saw weak mayors like Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, who not long ago were puffing up their chests telling people what kind of sand they could walk on, unwilling and unable to preserve order, and now caving in to the far left and cutting police funding.

Compare that to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot:

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot: But I want to express my disappointment, and really my total disgust at the number of others who came to today's protest armed for all-out battle. You don't come to a peaceful protest with a bowling ball or a hammer or a shovel or a baseball bat.

That's the type of strong leadership we need in our city -- straightforward condemnation of violence of any kind. And of course, that includes violence by the police, of which we've also seen too much these last few days.

Yes, of course, they've got that toughest job in our society. They're the ones who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. If someone breaks into your house, if someone assaults you, if someone is brandishing a weapon, you call them, and they're there. Look what they have had to put up with.

But we need to be fair and balanced. There's been too much casual brutality by the police. Of course, that's a minority. But the job of the police is to protect property for sure. It's also to protect protesters peacefully exercising their constitutional rights -- to protect them, not attack them.

Unprovoked violence like that is not just morally unacceptable. It's stupid because it gives people the chance to be anti-police. "Defund the police" -- it is fast becoming a mainstream Democratic position. Who are they going to call to protect them when they're in Congress, at their political events? Black Lives Matter?

Just on Sunday, the Minneapolis City Council said they're beginning the process of "ending the Minneapolis Police Department and creating a new transformative model for cultivating safety." But when a violent man is beating up his girlfriend while a 4-year-old boy cowers in terror, good luck breaking that up with a new transformative model for cultivating safety.

To solve problems, you need the hard painstaking work of actual policy change. And let's be honest, that work needs to be done.

Thankfully, it seems like the violent disorder is under control. But now what? As I said, it's not either-or. It is first-then. First, restore order, then address the underlying issues. Those are real.

Many this week are recalling the Civil Rights fights in the 1960s. JFK made the nice speeches, but it was LBJ who got it done. And that's what history remembers -- the great American comeback. Make black America part of it. Over to you, Mr. President.

We cannot just dismiss what we're seeing as the antics of some Brooklyn radicals. You're seeing peaceful protests across the country in red states as well as blue states, in small towns as well as big cities. All ages, races and backgrounds.

Police officers themselves want change. It's more than police killings of African-Americans, terrible though that is. Off the top of my head, I can tell you personal stories about the senior African-American executive treated like a criminal. The professional woman warned about driving to renew a permit. The white family with four kids, one of them adopted who happens to be African- American, who fear for one of their sons. Guess which one? They fear every time he goes out, he may be hassled or worse by the police.

There's an increasing authoritarianism, a sense that we are over-policed -- cops bristling with equipment, aggressive and excessive. I felt that for years; many of you felt it during this shutdown. But it's African-Americans who felt it longest and most painfully.

They felt the inequality and discrimination, but who has been in charge? Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed -- a Democratic mayor for 46 years. Not a single Republican on the city council this century. Minneapolis Democrats have been in charge of budgets, hiring, policies, practices. They could have done anything they wanted to reform policing. Who was stopping them? The governor -- a Democrat for a decade. The state attorney general -- a Democrat since 1971.

Around the country, California was the state with the most black residents killed by police in 2019. Who is their governor? Democrat Gavin Newsom. Who is their attorney general? Democrat Xavier Becerra. It is practically a one-party state.

And what about New York in 2019? The most black residents in the northeast killed by police. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Democratic Attorney General Letitia James.

We keep talking about a small number of bad cops -- rotten apples that spoil the barrel. Well, actually, we have the data on that. A study found that in Chicago, the worst 5 percent of officers account for a third of all civilian complaints. The problem is the process is designed to make complaints hard to file and to protect bad cops from the consequences of them.

In Chicago, that same study found that the majority of complaints result in one-day suspension or less. In Minneapolis, run by Democrats, 1 percent of civilian complaints resulted in discipline.

For decades, persistent inequalities in education, housing, law enforcement. Yes, the system is stacked against African-Americans, but who has been in charge of the system? Who runs the schools? Who runs the housing? Who runs the police in the places African-Americans most suffer poverty and injustice? Not the racist Republicans. Not the fascist Trump. But you, the Democrats.

Who protects the minority of bad cops from real accountability? The police unions. And guess who they've got in their pocket? The largest congressional recipient of police union funding is New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, the Democratic co-chair of the House Law Enforcement Caucus -- over $43,000.00 from police unions and law enforcement PACs since 2004.

In the Senate, the top two recipients are Democrats as well: Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar -- the same Amy Klobuchar who did not immediately charge George Floyd's killer years ago when he was involved in another shooting, and she was the local county attorney.

For her part,Klobuchar's office tells Fox News that the senator did not make the prosecution decisions in the Chauvin case, as the Hennepin County Attorney's Office has confirmed, saying that she "had no involvement in the prosecution of this case at all."

Over the past quarter-century, L.A.'s police union has given over seven times as much money to Democrats as Republicans.

Here's the common ground on policing. Sir Robert Peel in known as "the father of modern policing" Bill Bratton is a giant of American policing who helped Rudy Giuliani clean up New York. But Bill Bratton said he carried with him everywhere as his policing Bible Robert Peel's Nine Principles of Policing from the early 1800s. I'm going to read to you the three most important ones. If every officer and every police force in America adhere to these principles, we will never again witness the scenes of the last few days.

Number six: "Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice and warning is found to be insufficient."

Number seven: "Police at all times should maintain the relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police. The police being only members of the public, who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interest of community welfare and existence."

Number nine: "The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it."

More from Opinion

Whether it's policing that leaves residents and business owners frightened of rioters, or policing that leaves African-Americans frightened of the police for themselves and their children, it is wrong. President Trump is rightly proud of what he did for African-Americans -- the lowest unemployment in history, opportunity zones to revitalize urban neighborhoods and long overdue criminal justice reform with the First Step Act.

All those gains will be lost, politically speaking, at least, unless he now takes the next step -- police reform. The president should lead this, a federal mandate to limit use of force, to bring policies, procedures and training in line with those principles Bill Bratton called his Bible. And to bring accountability by making sure every American has access to a serious independent police complaints commission, so we can use transparency to weed out the bad cops while supporting the good ones.

Consider efforts like Campaign Zero. They've done serious research on positive solutions. DeRay McKesson, one of its founders, commands huge respect in this area. The president and his team won't agree with all his ideas, not by a long way. But with the right spirit, there's common ground to be found. There's common ground to on the broader issues of race and injustice.

This is not just about policing, and it's not just about racism. Think about the coronavirus. African-Americans are dying at a much higher rate than white people. That's not because the virus is racist. It's because they have poor health. And why do they have poor health? Because they are poorer.

Why are they poorer? Well, partly it's the consequences of past discrimination in housing and education especially, partly as the result of well-intentioned policies that didn't work.

But it's also because of corruption -- politicians who get elected with money from special interests, especially the public sector unions and then govern for them, not in the general interest.

Public housing in our biggest cities is a disaster. New York's public housing is plagued by lead paint poisoning, mold, heating failures and chronic mismanagement. And guess what? Despite being a quarter of New York City's population, nearly a half of the city's public housing is occupied by African-Americans.

Education is a disaster. In California, on math and reading scores at eighth grade, there is a roughly 40-point gap between black and white students equivalent to four years of learning.

Democrats talk about systemic racism, and I agree. For decades, persistent inequalities in education, housing, law enforcement. Yes, the system is stacked against African-Americans, but who has been in charge of the system? Who runs the schools? Who runs the housing? Who runs the police in the places African-Americans most suffer poverty and injustice?

Not the racist Republicans. Not the fascist Trump. But you, the Democrats. You're the ones doing this to black America.

The answers to these problems are what Republicans and especially President Trump are all about -- people power. It wins elections, too. African-American students at all levels do better in charter schools. Ron DeSantis championed school choice, and it helped him become governor of Florida.

In housing, transfer the assets to people. Give them ownership, a stake in society. Margaret Thatcher did that in England, and it helped her win the working-class vote.

Trump took on the establishment on China, on trade, on immigration. He freed up the economy like never before. All that's at risk, unless he steps up to this moment with a bold new plan to fight the education establishment, the housing establishment and yes, the policing establishment, to put real power in people's hands, especially African- Americans.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Many this week are recalling the Civil Rights fights in the 1960s. JFK made the nice speeches, but it was LBJ who got it done. And that's what history remembers -- the great American comeback. Make black America part of it.

Over to you, Mr. President.

Adapted from Steve Hilton's monologue from "The Next Revolution" on June 7, 2020.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM STEVE HILTON