ATLANTA -- The man President Trump called his “beleaguered” attorney general was in Atlanta Tuesday. Jeff Sessions spoke to a room full of African-American law-enforcement officials.

He gave a speech that sidestepped a lot of his issues with the president – and the president’s new issues with law enforcement.

The attorney general warned that rising murder rates and drug addiction are cause for concern for law enforcement.

"I’m here today on behalf of President Trump and the Department of Justice to say 'thank you,'" Sessions told the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives annual meeting at downtown's Hyatt Regency hotel.

Sessions did not mention the president’s own remarks to a law enforcement audience earlier in the week that appeared to endorse rough treatment for gang suspects. "When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, please don’t be too nice,” Trump said last week.

Sessions exited his speech to a private meeting with leaders of the organization.

"His response to us was he was aware of the comment. He believes it was done in jest," said Perry Tarrant, the president of NOBLE. But he added that Sessions appeared to agree with them that the President’s remark was ill-advised.

"We are not thugs. We are professionals. We fully expect law enforcement around the country to behave as professionals," Tarrant said.