Outgoing NYPD chief Bill Bratton questioned whether “talk tough” Donald Trump had ever taken an “actual punch” in his life while disputing the GOP presidential nominee’s assertion that crime is out of control.
Bratton, 68, will retire from the department in September to join global consulting firm Teneo as senior managing director and chairman of risk management. Throughout his long police career he’s been Boston police commissioner, Los Angeles police chief and twice the head of the New York department, first under Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Jimmy O’Neill, whose “acumen as a tough cop was honed in the subways, the streets, and later running precincts, narcotics and fugitive apprehension,” according to Bratton, will take over as police commissioner when Bratton steps down.
Bratton, a Vietnam veteran, told MSNBC this morning he was “amazed, absolutely amazed and appalled” by Tuesday’s Trump rally in which the real-estate mogul was given a Purple Heart by an Iraq war veteran and said, “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” Trump was granted four educational deferments during the Vietnam war and one final medical deferment for his feet.
“I’m amazed my fellow vets are basically so supportive of him,” Bratton said.
The commissioner was asked about Trump’s promise to be the law-and-order candidate.
“I have a message for all of you: the crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored,” Trump said in his Republican National Convention speech accepting the GOP nomination. “…Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement.”
“The first task for our new administration will be to liberate our citizens from the crime and terrorism and lawlessness that threatens their communities,” Trump added.
Bratton said he didn’t agree with the assertion that crime is spiraling out of control or that Trump is the man to bring law and order.
“Talks tough, but I think a little bit about law and order and policing, I would not trust that he would be able to do much about that, being quite frank with you,” the commissioner said. “Cities aren’t spiraling out of control. Some, unfortunately, have rises in crime. New York City, fortunately, is not one of them.”
“I always wonder about tough guys that talk tough. That — I wonder if Mr. Trump has ever taken a punch in his life, that — in the sense an actual punch. It’s nice to talk tough, but in this situation that — I would have serious concerns about his abilities in that area.”
Bratton touted the NYPD’s reforms and having “the best equipped police officers in America” in terms of officer safety.
“The issue of race is an American problem. It’s not a New York City problem. It’s an American problem that we’re wrestling with as a country. Even there, I think that we’re around the curve on that issue. We’re facing it openly,” he said. “I have a department that, like the rest of American policing, is struggling to find common ground. It’s a shared responsibility for safety. And I’m very proud of what we’ve done over these last couple years to face it. It’s one of the reasons why I can comfortably leave this job.”
The top cop also panned Trump’s “attacks on Muslims” as the NYPD has a thousand Muslim officers and “several thousand” Muslim employees. “I just don’t get it, being quite frank with you,” Bratton said. “I do not get it.”