On Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," anchor Ari Melber slammed what he called the "double standard" of Republicans outraged that Trump was subject to an FBI search at Mar-a-Lago after months of refusing to comply with requests to return classified documents — when "they should have just complied" is the go-to defense Republican commentators use to defend police officers who injure or kill Black suspects with excessive force.
"It is a standard piece of conservative refrain," said Melber. "In these clashes over law enforcement and policing, including when people are documented as innocent or did nothing wrong or are facing very aggressive or illegal police treatment, the line we hear over and over is, just follow the officer's commands and comply no matter what." He then showed several clips of right-wing commentators saying this.
"If, in fact, the police officer gives you a command, please exit the car, you should say, yes, officer, no, officer, okay, officer," said Sean Hannity in one clip. "Bad decisions by a cop, but those decisions wouldn't have been made if the perp didn't run away," said Eric Bolling in another. "Just comply. Please, listen," said Kimberly Guilfoyle in yet another.
"Just comply," said Melber. "This frequent conservative claim goes well beyond complying with lawful police requests. The demand is comply first, fully, no matter what. Yes, officer. Make any objections that may come up, presumably, later. And this logic, this argument, this talking point has come from conservatives over and over. So I'm showing you stuff that's on air, but this is in communities around America. Minnesota has a police union representative who in that Daunte Wright case, mistakenly drawing a gun, said they should have complied. And he argued it was the noncompliance that set off the chain of events that led to the death. Houston Police has a union, and they had a similar take when they said, quote, 'Comply don't die. Live to have your day in court.' Those are real examples. And that includes times where police were later found to make mistakes or used excessive force, even on tape."
"But that loud stubborn and often smug lecture comes from national political elites on the right and MAGA leaders and Trump allies all the way down to the police unions: comply," said Melber. "That's when innocent people were beaten or killed. That's the context for the recent legal problems for Trump because, again, this sometimes gets pushed out. There's so much going on and that's why it's our special report right now because I want everyone to understand Donald Trump was given months to comply. But he didn't. And Trump aides who have been given special elite treatment when asked to follow the law and testify have benefitted from that whole different approach. There are Trump officials who partially resisted and there are others, especially for the January 6th Committee, who fully resisted. No compliance."
"I want to be clear," said Melber. "We're talking about Donald Trump and other powerful, well-connected white people, who have acted like they are above the law and their own past demands are really not about the rules. They are just telling others to comply. And many of those other cases involve regular citizens who don't have political connections, and who are Black and Brown people in America. So this is a documented double standard. Lawless resistance for Trump elites, compliance or violence for regular citizens, and especially regular citizens who are Black and brown.
Ari Melber explores GOP double standard on "complying" with police www.youtube.com