President Obama publicly condemned violence against police officers as “completely unacceptable” and “an affront to civilized society” after a Texas deputy sheriff was allegedly targeted and killed over his uniform, yet Fox News hosts spent the next several days accusing him of ignoring the crime in order to paint Obama as dismissive of law enforcement.
President Obama Issued Statement Condemning Violence Against Law Enforcement After Houston Sheriff's Deputy Was Attacked And Killed
Sheriff: Deputy Killed "Because He Wore A Uniform." Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Darren Goforth was assassinated on August 28 while pumping gas in Houston:
A 30-year-old Houston man was arrested Saturday in the fatal shooting the night before of a sheriff's deputy who was filling the gas tank of his patrol car.
As Deputy Goforth pumped the gas, the gunman approached from behind and began firing, continuing to shoot after the officer fell to the ground, the authorities said. Investigators have not found any provocation that might have set off the attack.
“We have not been able to extract any details regarding a motive at this point,” Sheriff Hickman said. “As far as we know, Deputy Goforth had no previous contact with the suspect. It appears at the outset to be completely unprovoked.”
Deputy Goforth “was a target because he wore a uniform,” the sheriff said. [The New York Times, 8/29/15]
Obama Issued Statement: “Targeting Police Officers Is Completely Unacceptable.” Following the murder of Deputy Goforth, on August 31 President Obama issued a statement condemning violence against police officers as “an affront to civilized society”:
This afternoon, on my way to Alaska, I called Kathleen Goforth, the widow of Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth - a veteran law enforcement officer who was contemptibly shot and killed over the weekend. On behalf of the American people, I offered Mrs. Goforth my condolences, and told her that Michelle and I would keep her and her family in our prayers. I also promised that I would continue to highlight the uncommon bravery that police officers show in our communities every single day. They put their lives on the line for our safety. Targeting police officers is completely unacceptable - an affront to civilized society. As I said in my State of the Union Address, we've got to be able to put ourselves in the shoes of the wife who won't rest until the police officer she married walks through the door at the end of his shift. That comfort has been taken from Mrs. Goforth. So we must offer her our comfort - and continue to stand up for the safety of police officers wherever they serve. [Mediaite, 8/31/15]
Obama Also Called Deputy's Widow To Offer His Condolences. The same day he issued a statement condemning violence against police, Obama called Kathleen Goforth, the wife of the deputy sheriff who was attacked, to offer his condolences:
President Obama called the widow of the Texas sheriff's deputy who was fatally shot last week to offer his condolences and condemn any violence against police officers.
Obama called Kathleen Goforth, the deputy's widow, on Monday while he was traveling to Alaska, according to a statement from the White House. During the call, Obama said he offered her prayers on the loss of “a veteran law enforcement officer who was contemptibly shot and killed.”
He went on to decry any violence against officers, saying that Americans must stand up for the safety of police across the country. [The Washington Post, 9/1/15]
Fox Figures Ignore Obama's Statement In Order To Accuse Him Of Disregard For Police Officers
Outnumbered Host: “I Haven't Heard Anything Publicly From The President” Condemning The “War On Cops In This Country.” On the September 3 edition of Fox News' Outnumbered, co-host and O'Reilly Factor producer Jesse Watters claimed despite three police officers being killed this week, he hasn't “heard anything publicly from the president” on the topic:
JESSE WATTERS: There is a war on cops in this country. It's funny, the liberals care more when a lion is killed as opposed to a cop. Three cops shot dead in just one week. I haven't heard anything publicly from the president. Haven't heard anything publicly from Hillary Clinton. Maybe I missed it. Imagine if Freddie Gray, and Mike Brown, and Trayvon were all killed within one week. You wouldn't hear the end of it. I think Democrats have created a monster in this Black Lives Matter situation. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 9/3/15]
Sean Hannity: "Why Doesn't [Obama] Speak Out Publicly" Against Anti-Police Rhetoric? On the September 2 edition of Fox News' Hannity, Sean Hannity claimed that Obama will speak out when black men are killed by police, but not when police are killed:
SEAN HANNITY: We see this dramatic increase in the targeting of police officers. Here's my question, and it's a political one: The president spoke out in the Trayvon Martin case. Spoke out in the Cambridge police case. Spoke out in the Michael Brown case. Mr. constitutional attorney spoke out without evidence presented in all three of those cases and was wrong in all three. My question is, why, after these incidents of assassinations of cops, why doesn't he speak out publicly about that and take a strong stand?
GERALDO RIVERA: Clearly, the president should remark any time there is a crime that just goes to the soul and conscience of America. There's no doubt about it. Here's what I would recommend to the president: there's a billboard right now running Memphis, Tennessee. It says 'Black Lives Matter, so let's quit killing each other."
HANNITY: That's a great message for everybody. [Fox News, Hannity, 9/2/15]
Megyn Kelly: Does Obama Have “An Obligation To Speak Out Against” Anti-Police Rhetoric? The day after Obama condemned the targeting of police officers, Megyn Kelly asked her guests on the September 1 edition of The Kelly File whether "the president has an obligation to speak out against" violent rhetoric against police. Frequent Fox guest Sheriff David Clarke went on to suggest that Obama had not issued any statements on the deaths of police officers like he did after Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown were killed:
MEGYN KELLY: Let me ask you, Ron, whether you think the president has an obligation to speak out against what we're hearing, the rhetoric we are hearing from [Black Lives Matter] specifically or not.
RON HOSKO: I do, Megyn. I think that this president has taken some affirmative steps and he's made comments in the past in other police encounters, some of which raised questions about his support for law enforcement generally. And now it's time in light of, not just the actions of this group, but at this time in America, last month was a bloody month for law enforcement. Fifteen police officers killed.
DAVID CLARKE: I think the President of the United States -- because he weighted into this days after Ferguson with some inflammatory rhetoric, and where he breathed life into this anti-cop sentiment that now exists in the United States - He made the statement that our law enforcement officers have a fear of people that don't look like them. You look at the Fox Lake lieutenant who, 30 years on the job, the report I got, he was considering retiring at the end of the month, he had 30 days to go, father of four. And now look at what we're looking at here now. Look, the president now, because he waded into this and he waded in after the Cambridge police department where he said they acted stupidly, and other statements that he said -- He's got an obligation to come out now and walk some of this back, and remind people of the important role that law enforcement officers play and that no longer is this anti-cop madness, this anti-cop slime --
KELLY: He always does that. He always gives a shoutout to the cops when he comments on the matter. The critics have said, Ron, that whenever he compliments the cops, or pays tribute to the hard work they do, there's always a but. 'But we have seen this epidemic, but young black men have good reason to fear.' 'But we have this problem that the cops are responsible for,' and so on. [Fox News, The Kelly File, 9/1/15]