Biden’s call to ‘defund the police’ draws criticism from Rep. Cori Bush | Politics
JEFFERSON CITY — President Joe Biden dismissed calls from some Democrats to “defund the police” during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, generating pointed criticism from St. Louis U.S. Rep. Cori Bush.
Biden, in the Democratic president’s election-year speech to Congress, sought to drop the politically contentious message as his party prepares for a potentially grueling midterm election on Nov. 8.
Bush, in a tweet after Biden’s speech, reiterated his longstanding call for defunding the police and shifting resources to other areas of government.
“All our country has done is give more funding to the police. The result? 2021 set a record for fatal police shootings,” she said.
The Washington Post recorded 1,055 fatal police shootings nationwide last year, the most the outlet has recorded in a year since it began compiling data on police killings in 2015.
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“Defund the police,” Bush said. “Invest in our communities.
“With all due respect, Mr. President,” Bush said. “You didn’t mention saving black lives once in that speech.”
With all due respect, Mr President. You haven’t mentioned saving black lives once in this speech.
All our country has done is give more funding to the police. The result? 2021 set a record for fatal police shootings.
Defund the police. Invest in our communities. https://t.co/t0n0EpHMwd
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) March 2, 2022
While Biden in his speech didn’t say the phrase “save black lives,” he took his call to “defund the police” between praising the Justice Department’s actions on police reform and calling for more gun regulations.
“I know what works: investigating crime prevention and community policing,” Biden said. “Cops who walk to the beat, know the neighborhood and can restore trust and safety.
“Let’s not abandon our streets, or choose between safety and equal justice,” he said.
“Let’s come together and protect our communities, rebuild trust and hold law enforcement to account,” Biden said.
“We should all agree: the answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training. The resources and training they need to protect their communities.
Results of a Pew Research Center survey released in October showed that a shrinking minority of American adults want police budgets cut “a little” or “a lot”.
The survey found that in June 2020, in the weeks following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, 26% of respondents wanted department budgets cut “a lot” or “a little”.
Last year, just 15% of those polled favored cutting police budgets, Pew found.
Meanwhile, 47% of respondents wanted increased police funding last year, up from 31% of those polled in 2020.
Mike Berg, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives, said on Wednesday that the “defund the police” message remained “toxic” with voters.
“Defunding the police is absolutely toxic to voters, but Missouri’s most prominent Democrat still wants to do it,” Berg said. “Cori Bush is going to make Democrats forever known as the ‘police defunding’ party.”
With nominations still open, it’s unclear if Bush will face a top challenger in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary. Sen. Steven Roberts, D-St. Louis, did not respond to a text message this week asking if he was running for Congress.