Calls to defund the police and redirect significant portions of departments’ bloated budgets towards much-needed social welfare programs are growing, an astonishing move of the Overton Window that has only happened through the sustained organizing of black grassroots activists and abolitionists. And the actions of police officers—from the violence directed at protesters to the slashing of protesters’ car tires—is only helping to make the once-unimaginable idea more mainstream.
Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump is not a fan of this idea.
It’s become obvious by now that Trump is pulling a Richard Nixon and leaning on a narrative of law and order out of a belief that it’ll lead to his re-election, and he’s doing his best to paint Joe Biden as more akin to “ANTIFA” than what he actually is, which is a fan of moderate (and useless) reform. Via USA Today:
The Trump campaign held a phone call with reporters Monday to further its case, alleging Biden “does not have the strength to stand up to extremists” on the left. Tim Mutaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director, pointed to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a Biden ally, pledging to cut as much as $150 million originally budgeted for his city’s police department.
He noted that Black LIves Matter protesters outside the White House wrote “defund the police” on 16th Street in front of Lafayette Park.
“The question is, ‘Where has Joe Biden been?’” Murtaugh said prior to the release of Biden’s statement. “We’re now days into this movement in the Democrat Party and Joe Biden has managed only a feeble, ‘No comment.’”
On Monday, Biden felt compelled to release a statement through a spokesperson that clarified his own position—he also doesn’t support defunding police departments.
More, from the Washington Post:
Former vice president Joe Biden does not believe police should be “defunded,” a spokesman said Monday, distancing the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee from a growing number of liberal activists who have embraced the slogan “defund the police” in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“As his criminal justice proposal made clear months ago, Vice President Biden does not believe that police should be defunded,” spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. “He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain.”
Here’s what Biden does support, via his spokesperson:
“Biden supports the urgent need for reform — including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing,” Bates said. “This also means funding community policing programs that improve relationships between officers and residents, and provides the training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths. This funding would also go towards diversifying police departments so that they resemble the communities in which they serve. We also need additional funding for body-worn cameras.”
It’s absolutely a sign of the movement’s growth that Biden even felt compelled to release a statement on his position. It’s not as if anyone expected Biden to scream, “ACAB!” in a campaign video. But as many people who are much smarter than I am have pointed out, it’s worth noting that the reforms Biden is touting—more training, community policing, and body cameras—have been implemented in police departments around the country, yet have done little to substantively address chronic and endemic police violence.
- Health care companies that received billions in covid-related bailout funds are continuing to pay their CEOs millions while laying off or cutting the pay of frontline workers. [New York Times]
- Mitt Romney gets one very small, slightly dry cookie for showing up to a protest against police violence this weekend. And in other news about Republicans doing the bare minimum, Colin Powell is going to vote for Joe Biden. Listen, I’m all for this if it somehow convinces my stepdad to not vote for Donald Trump this time around! [Washington Post/Politico]
- Like Colin Powell, most voters plan on casting their ballots for Biden, according to a new poll, which also found that Donald Trump’s approval rating is down to 38 percent. [CNN]
- Maybe it doesn’t help matters when senior Trump campaign advisors like Mercedes Schlapp, of the CPAC Schlapps, approvingly tweet out videos of racists screaming racist slurs and threatening protesters with a chainsaw? [The Intercept]
- A self-professed leader of the Ku Klux Klan drove his car into a group of protesters on Sunday in Richmond, Virginia. Now he may be charged with a hate crime. [The Virginian-Pilot]
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