President Trump’s private meeting with families of people killed by police ‘very emotional’

“He took it deeply personally. It was a very productive meeting and a solutions-oriented meeting.”

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump met privately with a group of families of Americans killed by law enforcement, which was described by a White House spokesperson as an emotional event.

“It was a very important meeting, a very emotional meeting,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said to the press.

Attending the meeting were family members of Jemel Roberson, Botham Jean, Ahmaud Arbery, Darius Tarver, Michael Dean, Cameron Lamb, and Everett Palmer. President Trump listened to the families who shared their personal stories of loss, according to McEnany. “There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of emotion and the president was devastated,” she said.

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McEnany said that she spoke to Trump personally after the meeting, and that the families’ accounts were  “devastating.”

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“He took it deeply personally,” McEnany said. “It was a very productive meeting and a solutions-oriented meeting.”

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The families were not present for President Trump’s announcement of an executive order on police reform. Deputy Director of the Office of American Innovation Ja’Ron Smith said not having the families present at the ceremony was a “mutual decision.”

“It really wasn’t about doing a photo opportunity,” he said. “We wanted the opportunity to really hear from the families and protect them.”

Smith was disappointed that some civil rights groups criticized the families for meeting with President Trump. “I think it’s really unfortunate that some civil rights groups have even attacked them for coming or are putting out false statements about the interaction there,” Smith said.

Liberal activist Sean King wasn’t at the meeting, but he still claimed on social media that the meeting was “contentious,” which a White House official said wasn’t true. Meeting attendee, attorney S. Lee Merritt, said that those saying it was all a photo-op with Trump were wrong. “Reports of a photo op with the president or standing with the White House [officials] during the EO signing are false,” Merritt tweeted. “Show me the civil rights leaders who are upset about families making a direct appeal for federal intervention after the murder of their loved one and I’ll show you a clown.”

Merritt also added that the group “secured a commitment to independent federal investigations of each of the families that accompanied me to the White House.”

This piece originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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