White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Tuesday on Capitol Hill that President Donald Trump wants to overhaul police laws “sooner rather than later,” the first signal that the administration is interested in engaging in the conversation dominating the country.
Meadows, Jared Kushner and Assistant to the President Ja’Ron Smith met with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) — the Senate Republican tapped to lead the chamber’s police reform effort — in the Hart Senate Office Building on Tuesday afternoon hours after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threw his weight behind Scott’s effort to reexamine the statutes governing law enforcement.
“We’re hopeful that we can address the issue in a real way,” Meadows said of the push to reform policing.
The White House has been curiously silent until now. On Monday, Trump hosted a law enforcement roundtable during which he said “99 percent” of police are “great people.”
But the politics have shifted significantly on Capitol Hill. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — who last week called for the Army to take over law enforcement in American cities — stood up in a closed party lunch Tuesday and said black men have a different experience with police than white men, and the Senate should do all it can to change that.
Scott is leading a group of lawmakers, which includes Sens. John Cornyn and Lindsey Graham, in crafting an overhaul package. Meadows called Scott’s yet-to-be-released proposal “a work in progress,” and declined to say what specifics the administration is seeking to codify into law. He also signaled that the White House might take some action on its own, saying “hopefully we can be responsive with real legislation or action.”
“We want to let our actions speak louder than words,” Meadows said.