White House press secretary Jen Psaki doubled down on her claims the Republicans are responsible for defunding the police during her briefing on Wednesday.
Psaki was asked a follow-up on remarks she made Monday that GOP members essentially wanted to swipe funds from law enforcement across the country by voting against President Biden’s $1.9trillion American Rescue Plan.
Fox News‘ Peter Doocy asked her: ‘You mentioned at the last briefing that you think Republicans wanted to defund the police because they did not support the American Rescue Plan. Which Republican ever said that they did not like the American Rescue Plan because they wanted to defund the police?’
Psaki responded by saying: ‘Well, first let me just note that the president ran and won the most votes of any candidate in history on a platform of boosting funding for law enforcement. Republicans spent decades trying to cut the COPS program.
‘There’s record of that. That doesn’t require anyone having new comments. And then also stood in the way of crucial funding needed to prevent the laying off of police officers as crimes increased. That’s a simple statement of fact.’
White House press secretary Jen Psaki doubled down on her claims the Republicans are responsible for defunding the police during her briefing on Wednesday
Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked her: ‘You mentioned at the last briefing that you think Republicans wanted to defund the police because they did not support the American Rescue Plan. Which Republican ever said that they did not like the American Rescue Plan because they wanted to defund the police?’
Doocy then retorted and said: ‘I understand what you’re saying there, however, there are lots of examples of Democrats explicitly saying they want to defund the police. You’ve got Congresswoman Cori Bush, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, are there any examples of Republican members of Congress saying they want to defund the police?
‘I think most people would argue that actions are more important than words, wouldn’t you say?’ Psaki said.
On Tuesday night, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz mocked Democrats for trying to blame Republicans for wanting to defund the police as ‘chutzpah’
Doocy then pressed the point again and asked when Republicans specifically said they wanted to wipe funds for cops.
‘Again, I think actions speak louder than words, Peter, so if you oppose funding for the COPS program, something that was dramatically cut by their prior administration and many Republicans supported, and then you vote against the bill that has funding for the COPS program, we can let other people evaluate than what that means. It doesn’t require them to speak to it or to shout it out, their actions speak for themselves’.
On Tuesday night, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz mocked Democrats for trying to blame Republicans for wanting to defund the police as ‘chutzpah’.
‘I gotta say, it’s remarkable that the White House is now apparently employing comedians,’ he told Fox News’ ‘Hannity’ Tuesday night. ‘You know, there’s an old Yiddish word for that: chutzpah.
‘For them to come out and claim that it’s Republicans who want to defund the police, that’s like an arsonist showing up at the fire and blaming the firemen,’ Cruz said.
‘That’s like the Chinese blaming the Americans for the Wuhan virus. That’s like OJ [Simpson] saying he’s gonna help find the real killer.’
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, 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.
It was signed in March, despite every single Republican in Congress voting against it.
Doocy on Monday 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.
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.’