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Trump says chokeholds sound "innocent" and "perfect" at first but generally "should be ended"

President Trump said in an interview on Friday that he "generally" supports banning law enforcement use of chokeholds although he then backtracked, seeming to suggest there could be a time and a place for the practice. Lawmakers from both parties have been debating banning the practice amid calls for police reform after the death of George Floyd

Mr. Trump, in an interview with Fox News' Harris Faulkner, said the "concept of chokeholds" seems "perfect" and "innocent" at first, but also said he "generally" supports ending it. Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly tweeted "LAW AND ORDER" in the last several weeks since the protests over Floyd's death began and campaigned on a tough-on-crime approach, has struggled to find his footing in a country where the vast majority of Americans want to see sweeping policing reforms. A new Reuters poll found 82% of Americans want to ban the police from using chokeholds. 

"I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect, and then you realize if it's a 1-on-1 — now if it's 2-on-1 that's a little bit of a different story, depending, depending on the toughness and strength. You know, we're talking about toughness and strength. We are talking — there's a physical thing here also. But if a police officer is in a bad scuffle..." the president said before Faulkner interjected for clarification.

"So you have to be careful," the president continued. "With that being said it would be I think a very good thing that generally speaking it should be ended."

The president's confusing word choice on reforms like chokeholds even contrasts with the language of his own party. 

Asked on Capitol Hill Thursday whether he supports banning chokeholds, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had a simple response: "Yes." 

Mr. Trump in his interview with Fox News struggled to identify a specific policing reform he might support, as Republicans on Capitol Hill have been crafting their own proposals. The White House has said reducing immunity for police is a non-starter.

"I want to see really compassionate but strong law enforcement, police force, but law enforcement, and I don't want to see mistakes," the president told Faulkner. 

The president also said in the interview with Faulkner that his campaign's decision to hold a Tulsa rally on June 19, the day known as the Juneteenth that commemorates the ending slavery in the U.S., wasn't intentional but should at the same time be viewed as a "celebration." 

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