President Joe Biden on Tuesday sought to undercut Republican attacks against Democrats over crime rates with a forceful call to “fund the police” at his State of the Union address, Politico reports.
Republicans have repeatedly attacked Democrats over the “defund the police” movement, which has only been backed by a handful of fringe members. Biden on Tuesday touted his administration’s efforts to boost police funding as well as reforms.
“We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police,” Biden said. “It’s to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training. Resources and training they need to protect their communities.”
Biden said that Americans do not have to “choose between safety and equal justice,” noting that his administration has also pushed reforms.
“That’s why the Justice Department has required body cameras, banned chokeholds and restricted no-knock warrants for its officers,” he said. “Let’s come together and protect our communities, restore trust and hold law enforcement accountable.”
Rep. Cori Bush, one of several Democrats in the House that has called to “defund the police,” took issue with Biden’s rhetoric.
“With all due respect, Mr. President. You didn’t mention saving Black lives once in this speech,” she tweeted. “All our country has done is given more funding to police. The result? 2021 set a record for fatal police shootings. Defund the police. Invest in our communities.”
Activist DeRay McKesson said that funding the police “is not the answer.”
“They are already well funded & not accountable to anyone & their presence hasn’t led to community safety,” he tweeted.
Vulnerable moderates praise:
Biden’s comments were especially well-received by moderate Democrats in tight election contests.
Rep. Val Demings, who is challenging Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, touted Biden’s call to fund the police on Twitter.
“Public safety is the foundation on which we build great communities,” wrote Demings, a former police chief in Orlando.
New Jersey Rep. Josh Gottheimer said he agrees with Biden that “we need to fund – not defund – the police.”
“Defunding our police & cutting budgets doesn't lead to safer communities,” he tweeted, instead calling for an “emphasis on investments in recruiting and retaining the best talent, training, safety, transparency, & mental health of policer officers.”