Biden, Democrats struggle to keep party on same page about 'defund the police'

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President Biden has sought to keep the unpopular “defund the police” movement at arm’s length amid increases in violent crime, but some of his fellow Democrats aren’t making it easy for him. 

The president last Thursday told police officers that the “answer is not to defund the police. It is to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors.” 

One day later, Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., publicly rejected that approach. 

“My colleagues keep telling us to wait. They keep telling us defunding the police and investing in communities won’t work,” Bush tweeted. 

“Well their policies keep ending up with police murdering Black people. Enough patronizing. Listen to the movements that are telling you how to save lives.” 

“President Biden has been crystal clear that he firmly opposes defunding the police and has never wavered from that position,” White House spokesman Mike Gwin told Fox News Digital. 

“The President believes that more funding for accountable and effective community policing — combined with efforts to get guns out of the hands of criminals and other anti-crime measures — is fundamental to making our neighborhoods safer and ensuring equal treatment under the law for all Americans.” 

But Bush isn’t alone among Democrats in backing the “defund” movement, though her position is in the minority.  

New York Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jamaal Bowman, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley, among others, have all previously been vocal advocates of defunding the police. 


In this April 20, 2021, file photo Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., speaks in Brooklyn Center, Minn., during a news conference at the site of the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop.
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Other Democrats, however, have followed Biden’s lead and sought to avoid being branded as “defund the police” supporters, especially amid the violent crime spike. 

“There’s been an explosion of gun violence, and calling for the police department to be defunded during an outbreak of gun violence is a little like calling for the fire department to be defunded during an outbreak of a fire,” New York Rep. Ritchie Torres said over the weekend.

The White House has even gone so far as to accuse Republicans of being the party of “defund the police” — a claim that was quickly debunked by fact-checkers. 

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