|U.S. Capitol Police were caught off guard in Trump mob riot that left one officer and four others dead. Getty Images
Abbott Could Back the Blue with Better Pay
after Trump Mob Derails Police Power Grab
January 7, 2021
Governor Greg Abbott would be wise to find an honest issue for the regular session that starts early next week to keep from being mocked and ridiculed if follows through with a plan to punish Texas cities for police reform in the wake of the violence that killed five people including an officer at the nation's Capitol on Wednesday.
The Abbott Back to Blue proposal appears to be yet another victim of the deadly riot that President Donald Trump inspired in Washington D.C. where he'd been telling militant right-wing loyalists to come this week to stand by for an event that would keep him in power.
Trump apparently had been referring to the congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden as the 2020 election winner - a process that had been a sacred formality until the president coaxed an angry mob into attacking the heart of American government in the first breach there in more than 200 years.
The Trump insurrection has effectively exposed the deception on which the Texas governor's signature initiative has revolved since he hatched it a few weeks before the November vote.
The thrust of the Abbott proposal would take action against local governmental entities that vote to defund the police. But the city of Austin is the only actual example that the governor has so far despite efforts to portray the slashing of law enforcement at the local level in Texas as a trend.
Abbott has sought to create a false impression of a Capital City ravaged by crime as a result of liberal leaders who've all but shut down law enforcement here. The governor has cited a one-year spike in homicides as his proof while failing to explain that murder rates went up in 2020 in all of the major America cities as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis.
Abbott has consistently mischaracterized the Austin City Council vote that cut conventional police spending to free up funds for new priorities that have the ultimate objective of reducing crime here. Abbott at the same time hasn't mentioned that Republican lawmakers have cut the state police budget in recent years with his approval.
Instead of proposing significant increases in benefits for police as the key to having a more qualified force, Abbott has appeared to be using some officers as backdrop pawns in a thinly-veiled attack on local control in cities that have been taken over by Democrats at the local level.
The governor has been falsely suggesting that socialists on the Austin council have put the public safety in critical danger by slashing money for law enforcement. Abbott's solution is a plan that a former GOP state legislator conceived and the governor embraced - a measure that would shift control of the Austin police from the city to the Department of Public Safety that he oversees as an executive agency.
But the Abbott plan is based on the implied theme that the public is safer when spending on police goes up - even though he hasn't indicated that he would favor a significant budget boost for law enforcement to back up the words. But the terrorism that Trump triggered in the nation's capital this week has proven that line of reasoning to be seriously flawed.
Congress had approved a substantial increase in funding for the U.S. Capitol police last year amid fears of growing security threats in the wake of the Memorial Day protests that erupted in violence across the country. But the Capitol police in Washington were caught completely off guard and unprepared for the Trump mob assault that left one officer dead and prompted the chief's resignation today.
Abbott and other Texas Republicans like U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, state Attorney General Ken Paxton and state GOP Chairman Allen West have been doing their dead best to capitalize on fears and insecurity that the pandemic has brought about by parroting fantasies about ANTIFA and other leftist radicals trying to take over the Lone Star State.
After urging Trump supporters to keep fighting at a rally outside the Capitol shortly before they stormed the building, Paxton has been peddling discredited claims about anti-fascists posing as loyalists to the president had been responsible for the violence while everyone else in the area had been protesting peacefully.
But Paxton, who's already under indictment for felony security fraud, could be culpable for criminal charges like those that a federal prosecutor is weighing against Trump for inciting the riots. Trump also faces the prospect of being removed from office before Biden's inauguration on January 20 amid a growing chorus of calls among Democrats and some Republicans for Vice President Mike Pence to fascilitate the invoking of the 25th Amendment on the grounds is no longer fit to serve as the nation's chief executive.
The fallout from the Trump mob's behavior appeared to slap the president back into a semblance of reality after more than two months of lying and hoodwinking Americans who'd trusted him into believing that he won the election and would keep his job with a victory in courts that he owned.
In a complete about-face from the position that the president had taken until now, Trump called today for a peaceful transition of power at the White House after doing everything in his power to be an obstacle in that regard since his ouster at the polls in November in an election that he still seems to think he won.
Abbott in the meantime has an opportunity in the upcoming regular session to demonstrate that he truly cares about the plight of law enforcement officers and the public safety by pushing for a substantial infusion of state funds for police salaries and other benefits. This would be an expensive proposition in a state where the Legislature will be scrambling to find ways to balance a state budget that the COVID-19 crisis has in shambles.
But Abbott and the Republicans have the option regardless of the initial shortfall to vote for new or higher state taxes for the purpose of raising pay for police in a way that would improve the profession by making it more attractive. That would be the way to back up the words about strong support for law enforcement.