Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Tuesday called on New York City to immediately rehire police officers who he said had been “fired without justification.”
“The mayor, Bill de Blasio, should immediately hire back all of the police who were fired without justification. They were fired. I guess that’s part of ‘defund the police’ by the Democrats,” Trump said during a news briefing at the White House. “They should hire New York City’s finest back. You have some incredible policemen doing specific jobs that no one else can do, actually, when it comes to terrorism and other things.”Facts First: The President appears to have been referring to two groups of New York City police who were not fired — prospective police academy students whose future jobs were eliminated before they joined the force and the NYPD’s anti-crime unit, whose officers were all reassigned to other offices within the police department.An NYPD spokesperson told CNN on Wednesday that the department hasn’t “fired any group of officers.” So by the President’s logic, the elimination of potential, future jobs and the reassignment of duties equates to being fired. Read MoreIn recent months, Trump has turned to calling for a return to law and order in Democrat-run cities, after acts of civil unrest, peaceful protest and, sometimes, violence were sparked by George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Facing pressure from thousands of constituents calling to defund the police and a looming pandemic-related budget shortfall, New York City cut the NYPD’s budget for fiscal year 2021 by $1 billion in June. As part of the cuts, the budget would allow two new police classes to be added instead of four, canceling the planned hiring of about 1,163 new officers. But those classes hadn’t started yet, meaning there weren’t necessarily any cadets enrolled in ongoing training courses who were told they were fired, as Trump suggested. This summer, the anti-crime unit of the NYPD was also eliminated, resulting in the reassignment of roughly 600 of its plainclothes officers.Their reassignments range from the NYPD’s detective bureau to their neighborhood policing initiative, according to New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.Shea said when he announced the disbanding that the reassignments closed one of the final chapters of stop-and-frisk — the controversial police practice involved both uniformed and plainclothes officers temporarily detaining, questioning and searching residents who were overwhelmingly Black or Latino. Trump has held conflicting views on stop-and-frisk.In 2016, he said he thinks stop-and-frisk “worked incredibly well” in New York, but more recently, as the 2020 presidential race was heating up, he called former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg — a former 2020 presidential candidate — a “total racist” for defending the policy while he was mayor and for years afterward. In the midst of recent demonstrations, the NYPD also saw a surge in officer retirements. From June 29 to July 6, for example, filings soared 411% compared with the year before. But, again, these officers retired. They were not fired.