Two Memphis city councilors don’t want the Memphis Police Department providing security for former President Donald Trump at his scheduled June 18 event in Southaven.
JB Smiley, Jr. and Martavius Jones, two nonpartisan Democratic city council members, issued a press release on Wednesday saying the two planned to introduce a resolution urging the MPD not to provide security for Trump.
“As we know, the Memphis Police Department is already experiencing a shortage of officers to patrol our communities. I don’t think this is a prudent use of police manpower and Memphis taxpayer dollars to escort the ‘former president at an event in Mississippi,’ Smiley said in a statement.
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Smiley is also in the running to be the Democratic nominee for governor of Tennessee.
The resolution, if passed, would likely be non-binding on the Memphis Police Department and it’s unclear if it would be appropriate anyway.
MPD spokesperson Major Karen Rudolph said: ‘At this stage we have not been contacted to assist.’
Former presidents receive Secret Service protection after leaving office. City police departments are regularly hired to provide security for private events featuring VIPs.
Trump has scheduled an event at Landers Center on June 18, which is billed as another leg of what is being called the “American Freedom Tour.” Presumably, the former president would land at Memphis International Airport.
Larry Ward, a spokesperson for the American Freedom Tour, said Trump looked forward to speaking in Mississippi later in the month and suggested the push to deny police protection was political.
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“Would the Memphis City Council withhold security from Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, or Joe Biden? Of course they wouldn’t, because it would be absurd to do so,” Ward told The Commercial Appeal.
For weeks, billboards have dotted the highways of Memphis saying that Memphis welcomes the former president. In 2020, Trump won just 34% of the Shelby County vote. Many of those votes came from the county’s Republican-leaning suburbs.
In Memphis proper, including the constituencies represented by Smiley and Jones, Trump lost to President Joe Biden by a much more lopsided margin. He won DeSoto County, Mississippi, where the Landers Center is located, with 61% of the vote.