The Biden administration is attempting to portray the Republicans as the party of ‘defund the police’ after they voted against the president’s American Rescue Plan – which included funding for law enforcement.
The left-wing rallying call to defund the police grew after the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, and was embraced by progressives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
But it has frequently been greeted with incomprehension and resistance, even within Democrat groups.
On Monday White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Republicans were the drivers of the move to defund the police because in March they voted against the $1.9trillion proposal even though it included $350billion for state and local governments that could be used for local police.
Jen Psaki, the White House spokesman, on Monday was asked about remarks over the weekend made by Cedric Richmond. Richmond claimed that the Republicans were defunding the police, because they refused to back Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, to help the country recover from COVID and provide funding to police departments
It was signed in March, despite every single Republican in Congress voting against it.
Fox News’ Peter Doocy had asked Psaki how Cedric Richmond, one of Biden’s advisors, could claim that Republicans defunded the police by not supporting the American Rescue Plan.
‘But how is it that that is an argument to be made when the president never mentioned needing money for police to stop a crime wave when he was selling the American Rescue Plan?’ Doocy asked.
Psaki replied: ‘Well, the president did mention that the American Rescue Plan, the state and local funding, something that was supported by the president, a lot of Democrats who supported and voted for the bill, could help ensure local cops were kept on the beat in communities across the country.
‘As you know, it didn’t receive a single Republican vote.
‘That funding has been used to keep cops on the beat.’
‘Defund the Police’ has become a widespread rallying cry, especially in response to the death of George Floyd. But polls show that it is not a popular or well-understood concept, and the Biden administration is trying to move away from it. Pictured: Demonstrators are seen marching around McCarren Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, on June 7, 2020
Psaki added: ‘I think that any local department would argue that keeping cops on the beat to keep communities safe when they had to – because of budget shortfalls – fire police is something that helped them address crime in their local communities.’
New York City in August cut $1billion from its $6billion policing bill.
Austin, Texas cut its police budget in August by 35 percent, with 5 percent taking immediate effect.
Seattle cut the police budget by 20 percent in December.
City councils have cut police budgets in nearly two dozen other cities, although mostly because the pandemic has battered municipal finances.
Defunding the police has not received widespread support, with both Barack Obama and Joe Biden saying they do not support the idea.
An Ipsos/USA Today poll released in March found that only 18 percent of Americans support defunding the police, and 11 percent support abolition.
About 57 percent support fully funding their own local police department, while 43 percent support redirecting some of that money to social services.
Protesters are pictured in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 3, 2020
Biden, pictured in March 2009, has said that he is not in favor of defunding the police
Biden’s senior advisor Cedric Richmond is blaming Republicans for ‘defunding police’
At the weekend Richmond, a senior advisor to the president, railed against Republicans on Fox News Sunday.
‘Let’s talk about who defunded the police,’ he said.
‘When we were in Congress last year trying to pass a rescue plan — I’m sorry, not the rescue plan but an emergency relief plan for cities that were cash-strapped and laying off police and firefighters — it was the Republicans who objected to it.
‘And in fact, they didn’t get funding until the American Rescue Plan, which our plan allowed state and local governments to replenish their police departments and do the other things that are needed.
‘So look, Republicans are very good at staying on talking points of who says defund the police, but the truth is, they defunded the police, we funded crime intervention, and a whole bunch of other things.’