This morning I have been reading various social media trying to take in everything that is happening across the country. It is hard to fathom the amount of violence that has happened in the last several days
Several have noted that the president has not made a major speech on this issue and have questioned whether he is taking sufficient action. Some supporters of the president have responded that there is nothing he CAN do because all the responsibilities fall on the states and mayors.
I agree that there are limits to the President’s legal authorities, however, leaders can exercise tremendous influence beyond their legal authority. Here are 8 things I think the president could do. Feel free to add more in the comments.
- Reach out to every state government and offer any legal assistance he can provide
- Encourage governors to make liberal use of the national guard
- Offer the assistance of the FBI to track down any organizations attempting to promote the rioting.
- Appoint a task force to reach out to black community organizations and develop a strategy to stop the rioting and then begin the hard work of addressing police brutality
- Appoint key black leaders from each party and leading organizations to lead the effort such as Senator Tim Scott, House Dem Caucus Chair Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, or Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms.
- Work with Civil Rights Organizations to develop alternate protest strategies and opportunities to minimize the opportunities for rioting. Encourage protests to happen in the middle of the day and avoid nightfall, to separate legitimate protesters from rioters and anarchists. Look for ways to bring protests into other forms of mail, online and media outlets instead of mass groupings. Be bold. Have a prime time address and bring in 3 or 4 national civil rights leaders to speak plainly for 15 minutes each.
- Ask for the national police unions and law enforcement organizations to develop a national standard for physical restraint procedures by police officers. Encourage state legislatures to adopt training requirements for all officers that meet these standards
- Direct the DOJ to review legal protections for accused police officers including a review of Qualified Immunity. Provide a recommendation for legislation to hold officers accountable for excessive physical force while protecting officers that follow the rules.
- Direct the FBI to establish a task force to identify any organizations that promote violence and anarchy and develop countermeasures, regardless of their race or political affiliations.
- Hold a prime time press conference with members of the task force to express the following thoughts. Let the members of the task force do most of the talking. Don’t use the word “I”.
- Express sincere condolences for the families and friends of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Empathize with their anger.
- Emphasize that in America, justice applies to everyone and you desire that those responsible be held accountable for their actions, both now and in the future.
- Announce the formation of the task force and describe its mission
- Acknowledge that in the midst of the riots, other organizations that promote violence are participating. These individuals are taking advantage of the pain of black Americans to sow discord in our country.
- Rioting and destruction hurt everyone. The president should express his intention to provide all the support in his power to help governments restore order.
- State that the majority of Americans, of all races, believe in the racial equality and dignity.
- Ask Americans to volunteer to help clean up the damage caused by the rioters when local officials notify that it is safe to do so.
- Ask Americans to donate to support victims of the violence and rebuild private businesses
- Ask every American to reach out to friends of another race and spend time with them.
- Stop tweeting.