When a White House press secretary gives a press briefing, you expect spin. You expect some verbal bobbing and weaving if the topic is unflattering to the administration. But when Jen Psaki blamed Republicans for defunding the police last week, it wasn’t spin – it was gaslighting.
Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked Psaki about senior adviser to the president Cedric Richmond’s claim that Republicans have defunded the police by not voting to pass Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Psaki defended Richmond, doubling down on the idea that Republicans, and not Democrats, have defunded the police.
That’s like an arsonist showing up as the fire’s blazing and blaming the firemen; it’s the like the Chinese Communist Party blaming America for the Wuhan virus; it’s like O.J. saying he’s going to help find the real killer. It’s absurd, it’s ridiculous, and Democrats know it.
Let’s look at the facts.
Democrats have called to defund the police for over a year and have been successful in doing it.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio last summer pledged to cut the NYPD budget by $1 billion, and New York City passed a budget that did indeed cut $1 billion from the police department. Just a couple of months ago de Blasio realized what a terrible decision that was because he’s now working to reverse it.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has said "defunding the police means defunding the police" and "the fight to defund the police continues." Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., has called for "no more policing," Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said "you can’t really reform a department that is rotten to the root," and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., introduced legislation to defund police officers in public schools and has said that defunding the police is "about true reparations."
And you want to know what Joe Biden thinks about defunding the police? Look no further than two of the people he nominated to senior positions at the Department of Justice, Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke.
Gupta wrote, "Some people call it ‘defunding the police,’ other people call it ‘divest-invest,’ but whatever you call it, if you care about mass incarceration, you have to care about skewed funding priorities." Clarke wrote last year that a "unifying call" had emerged from the Black Lives Matter movement to defund the police.
The facts are Democrats have repeatedly called to defund the police and have done so in many cities.
They are now among the top leadership at the Department of Justice.
Further, Democrat-led city councils all over the country have voted to defund the police. Last year, the Los Angeles city council cut the police budget by $150 million, Portland cut $15 million from its police budget, Minneapolis cut $8 million from its police budget, and Seattle cut its police budget by 18%.
Now, those Democrat-led cities are reaping what they sowed – crime rates are skyrocketing. The New York Times has reported that homicides in Los Angeles increased 36%, more than 82% in Portland, and almost 72% in Minneapolis last year, and it looks like those homicide spikes will continue this year.
And just last month, Democrats on the Oakland, California, city council voted to cut over $18 million from the police department, when Oakland is seeing a 90% increase in homicides over last year.
The New York Times has also reported data is showing that in 2020, homicide rates increased more than 30% in big cities and so far they’re increasing this year too. Some preliminary data shows there were 4,000 more murders in 2020 than there were in 2019, according to the Guardian.
Democrats know that the politics and the policy of defunding the police are not working for them, which is why they’re desperately trying to blame Republicans.
Not only did some Democrats blame calls to defund the police for close races last November and a razor-thin Democrat majority in the U.S. Senate, they know it’s not popular with the American people. A recent USA Today poll found that only 18% of Americans support defunding the police – and a large majority of African Americans and Democrats don’t support defunding the police.
The facts are Democrats have repeatedly called to defund the police and have done so in many cities. As a result, crime is rising and Democrat policies have had deadly consequences.
Not only have homicides risen, but there were more law enforcement officer fatalities in 2020 than there have been in 46 years, since 1974 –264 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty, many from COVID-19 as a result of being first responders during the pandemic and from getting shot while on duty.
Republicans support the police and Democrats have led a campaign to defund the police. For the Biden administration to suggest otherwise is a cynical, calculated lie.