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Donald Trump had an even-handed response to the Dallas ambush attacks

John Sommers II/Getty Images

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump canceled campaign appearances scheduled for Friday and released a statement saying that "racial tensions have gotten worse, not better," in the wake of a protest turned shooting that killed five police officers late Thursday night in Dallas.

At the Dallas demonstration about the senseless killing of black people by the police, 12 police officers were shot and were five killed after snipers targeted white police officers in an ambush attack.

The tragic event follows the fatal shooting of Alton Sterling, a black man, by a police officer on the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday, and of Philando Castile, another black man fatally shot by a white police officer at a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, on Wednesday.

Trump, who until Friday morning had not yet commented on the officer-involved shootings on Tuesday and Wednesday, used the opportunity to also acknowledge the "senseless" deaths of Castile and Sterling. Here is his full statement:

Last night’s horrific execution-style shootings of 12 Dallas law enforcement officers – five of whom were killed and seven wounded - is an attack on our country. It is a coordinated, premeditated assault on the men and women who keep us safe.

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

The senseless, tragic deaths of two motorists in Louisiana and Minnesota reminds us how much more needs to be done.

This morning I offer my thoughts and prayers for all of the victims’ families, and we pray for our brave police officers and first responders who risk their lives to protect us every single day.

Our nation has become too divided. 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.

This is a time, perhaps more than ever, for strong leadership, love and compassion. We will pull through these tragedies.

It was a surprisingly even-handed response from Trump, who has previously capitalized on tragic mass shooting incidents to further push divisive and inflammatory positions about ethnic and religious minorities. After the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, Trump reasserted his Muslim ban and made calls for racial profiling against Muslims.

His statement on Dallas called for "love and compassion" and a return to "law and order." It seems Trump’s campaign is pivoting toward a quieter, more "presidential" tone for the general election — if he can stay on message.

President Obama's statement after Dallas shooting

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