According to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted in the wake of the social justice protests sweeping the country this month, nearly three-fourths of Americans support banning police from using chokeholds. While the effectiveness of chokehold bans to help curb police brutality and racial inequality might be deeply dubious — New York City cops were officially barred from using chokeholds in 1993, more than a decade before Eric Garner was nevertheless choked to death by officer Daniel Pantaleo on the streets of Staten Island in 2014 — the fact that such an overwhelming majority of Americans are in favor of a wholesale ban on the practice is a sign of just how significant the effort to enact serious police reform (if not outright abolition) has become in the days since George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in late May.
I mention this because, on Friday afternoon, President Trump dove headfirst into the issue during an interview with Fox News's Harris Faulkner.
"I don't like chokeholds," Trump began, before conditioning his alleged displeasure by adding that when it comes to "a real bad person" in the middle of a fight with police, "What are you gonna do now — let go?"
And then the president offered the following series of words:
Please, take a moment to actually read the words, written out, and tell me, uh, what the president is talking about here:
The concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect, and then you realize if it's a one-on-one ... Now if it's two-on-one, 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, and he's got somebody in a chokehold. And that does happen.
What exactly "sounds so innocent" and "so perfect" about "the concept of chokeholds"? Is the concept not simply "to hold onto someone by choking them"? I suppose if the end goal is to block oxygen from reaching a person's brain, then, yeah, the concept is pretty perfect! Otherwise, I'm a bit at a loss.
In any case, the president then tempered his preceding word salad by concluding: "With that being said, it would be I think a very good thing that generally speaking it should be ended."
So, whew. Glad we got that cleared up as cleanly and unambiguously as possible.