MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Some Memphis city leaders don’t want the Memphis police to have anything to do with former President Trump’s upcoming visit to the Memphis area.
Leadership of the American Freedom Tour described the councilmen’s effort as “mean-spirited, partisan, and penurious.”
Billboards have been popping up all around town that says Trump’s American Freedom Tour is coming to the the Landers Center just across the state line in Southaven, Mississippi on June 18.
But Memphis City Council member JB Smiley, Jr. said Trump’s event is not in Memphis and Memphis taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill for his security detail.
‘We want to make sure our taxpayer dollars go toward things that provide any actual tangible benefit to the people of Memphis,” said Smiley.
Smiley said that’s why he and Councilman Martavius Jones are backing a resolution urging Memphis police to not provide Trump with an escort to or from the Landers Center.
He said the department is already short-staffed and tax dollars should be spent on keeping Memphis streets safe.
The Democrat, who is running for Governor of Tennessee, admits he doesn’t like Trump’s politics.
“I’m an elected official. My job is to reflect the will of the people who elected me,” said Smiley. “The people of Memphis have significantly said no to his rhetoric.”
Memphis Police said they have not been asked to assist in security at this time.
Southaven Police Chief Macon Moore said he should have a better idea next week about what kind of security his department will be providing for Trump’s visit.
American Freedom Tour spokesperson Larry Ward released this statement:
It is outrageous for them to even consider endangering the life of a former President of the United States for the most mean-spirited, partisan and penurious political reasons. Perhaps the Memphis City Council should consult with the good members of the Memphis Police Department about withholding security for President Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States. I am not sure they would agree with the Memphis City Council’s proposal, as protecting presidents is and has always been an unambiguous national security priority.Larry Ward
The American Freedom Tour has been fortunate to have had the support of local police at each tour stop across the country thus far. We look forward to continuing working with local law enforcement on June 18 as the President safely makes his way to Southaven, Mississippi.
Smiley and Jones will present their resolution at the June 7 council meeting.
“We want to make sure when that call does come this council has already spoken that our tax dollars need to stay in the city of Memphis,” said Smiley.
In 2018, Trump took part in an event at the Landers Center.