Former President Barack Obama spoke to the America First Policy Institute in Washington on Tuesday. He made the same pitch he made when he was first running for president in 2015. The speech meandered pretty significantly, as might have been predicted, with an extended riff on trans athletes after the crowd expressed its approval. Trump's framing of crime as being a function of Democratic attacks on law enforcement is itself not a recent addition, though the thrust has shifted. In 2016, he blamed the left for fostering a “dangerous anti-police atmosphere” in the country — the so-called “Ferguson effect” In 2020, it was higher than it had been in 2016, though, he said.
In a speech on Tuesday, President Donald Trump railed against immigration, drugs and crime. He also claimed that local police know who the immigrant criminals in their communities are but are hamstrung in arresting them. Trump is now running explicitly on the idea that he be able to deploy military power in that way. In his new speech, Trump integrated a lesson he learned in 2020: that his perceived toughness could be boosted by posturing about things he’d learned as president. He declared that the federal government should have the ability to unilaterally send the National Guard into states to deal with perceived dangers, a move he adopted in the wake of protests in Minnesota. That’s explicitly not how the National Guards works, with governors having joint authority on their deployment in states.