Donald Trump issues unusually measured response to Dallas shootings

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·National Correspondent
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Donald Trump at a campaign event in New York in June. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Donald Trump at a campaign event in New York in June. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

MIAMI — Donald Trump canceled a planned campaign visit to Miami on Friday in the aftermath of Thursday’s deadly shooting in Dallas, which left five police officers dead and seven others injured.

In a written statement, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee called the ambush “horrific” and an “attack on our country” aimed directly at the “men and women who keep us safe.”

“We must restore law and order,” Trump said. “We must restore the confidence of our people to be safe and secure in their homes and on the street.”

The GOP hopeful also offered his first comments on the police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota earlier this week — developments that prompted Thursday night’s Dallas demonstration, in which the officers came under attack by sniper fire. Trump offered “thoughts and prayers” to all of the victims’ families and law enforcement officials “who risk their lives to protect us every single day.” But he also spoke of the racial tensions that led to what has been a week of shocking violence in the country.

“The senseless, tragic deaths of two people in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done,” Trump said.

“Our nation has become too divided,” he continued. “Too many Americans feel like they’ve lost hope. Crime is harming too many citizens. Racial tensions have gotten worse, not better. This isn’t the American Dream we all want for our children.”

It was an uncharacteristically measured response from the former reality television star, who has been criticized in the past for brash responses to violent events. In the hours after last month’s deadly shooting in Orlando, Trump took to Twitter, where he promoted his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States and said he was “right” that terrorism would strike America again.

“Appreciate the congrats,” he infamously wrote then.

He also later argued that the death toll might have been lower had more people inside the club been armed — an argument he has frequently made in the aftermath of deadly shootings.

Emergency responders administer CPR to an unknown patient on a stretcher as law enforcement officials stand nearby at the emergency receiving area of Baylor University Medical Center, early Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Emergency responders administer CPR to an unknown patient on a stretcher as law enforcement officials stand nearby at the emergency receiving area of Baylor University Medical Center, early Friday, July 8, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Slideshow: Officers killed by sniper in Dallas protest over police shootings >>>

But in his early reaction to Dallas, Trump seemed to intentionally be more low key, though it’s unclear if this marks any real turning point for the presumptive GOP nominee.

For months, Trump aides have encouraged their boss to take a more presidential tone, and the candidate himself has, at times, tried to come across as less divisive, arguing that in spite of his often inflammatory rhetoric on the trail, he can unite the country in ways his likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, cannot. Clinton also canceled a planned speech Friday in reaction to the Dallas attack.

On the campaign trail, Trump often touts his efforts to win over Hispanic and African-American voters by suggesting his proposals will create jobs and elevate communities that have been stricken by racial division. He had been scheduled to deliver a Friday speech titled “Succeeding Together,” in which the candidate was set to argue that his proposals on the economy would benefit everybody.

On Friday, it seemed Trump was trying to be presidential, at least for the moment. “This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion,” the candidate said in a statement. “We will pull through these tragedies.”

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