A spokeswoman for Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican whose district includes parts of Dallas, has clarified comments he made to MSNBC on Friday morning regarding the sniper ambush carried out at the end of a peaceful protest, leaving five officers dead and others injured.
The congressman initially said he was concerned that Dallas police officers had “let their guard down” by joining protesters in the streets before what police are calling a coordinated attack targeting officers. Caroline Boothe, Sessions’ communications director, said later Friday that the congressman’s comment came “when the situation was still evolving and we did not have all of the facts of the case.” The spokeswoman added that Sessions did not think officers “let their guard down, they were just deliberately targeted by criminals.”
“Congressman Sessions has the utmost respect for the DPD and their commitment to protecting our communities,” the spokeswoman said.
In subsequent comments to MSNBC, Sessions said, “Our police have to be cognizant that their presence and their actions do have consequences.”
Asked how he felt presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump might handle things differently if elected, Sessions said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that he would like to make examples of the best police departments across the country and work to improve the economy.
“This is done not through America having a terrible unemployment problem,” he said. “It’s done through having a vibrant strong nation where people help each other, and I think Donald Trump will bring 10 million new jobs to America and we desperately need GDP growth and jobs.”
President Obama, speaking from the NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland, denounced the attacks strongly.
“We still don’t know all the facts,” he said. “What we do know is that there has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”
“We will learn more undoubtedly about their twisted motivations,” he continued, “There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement.”
Update 10 a.m.: This story has been updated to include a response from Sessions’ office and his subsequent comments to MSNBC on the shooting.