Sen. Cotton argues Biden's picks of Clarke, Gupta to lead DOJ reveals his support of decreasing police funding

Both Kristen Clarke and Vanita Gupta were narrowly confirmed by the Senate

Senator Tom Cotton, R-Ark., argued that President Biden’s picks for two of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) top positions illustrate the president’s stance on defunding the police.

Cotton blasted Biden in a tweet published Tuesday, urging Americans to look at what the president "does" through his actions when it comes to defunding the police, not just listen to his words.

"He picked two defund the police activists — Kristen Clarke and Vanita Gupta — to lead the Department of Justice," the Arkansas Republican tweeted. "Clarke: ‘Defund the Police. ’Gupta: ‘ decrease police budgets…’"


The senator's Tweet appeared to be in response to a linked Washington Post article by fact checker Glenn Kessler on GOP rhetoric surrounding the Biden administration’s stance on defunding the police. 

On Monday, Psaki pointed her finger at the GOP as the party trying to defund the police after movement became the rallying cry of progressive activists in 2020 and damaged Democrats' appeal with moderate voters.

"Something one of the advisers said this weekend, Cedric Richmond, he said Republicans defunded the police by not supporting the American Rescue Plan," Fox News' Peter Doocy asked Psaki on Monday. "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?"

"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," Psaki said.

"The President ran and won decisively on a platform of increasing funding for law enforcement, against an opponent who not only spent his entire term attempting to cut the COPS program – with the support of congressional Republicans – but who also blocked critical resources needed to prevent the laying off of police officers at a time of rising crime," a White House spokesperson told Fox News, echoing Psaki's claim.

"The President, with the backing of leading law enforcement groups, secured the money that his predecessor opposed – to keep cops on the beat – and every single Republican member of Congress voted against it.," they said. "They continue to oppose the American Rescue Plan even as it delivers the rehiring of police in their districts."

"The President is also fulfilling his campaign promise of fighting for hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding for the COPS program, as a central element of a comprehensive approach to the higher crime rates he inherited, alongside addressing gun violence directly, implementing prevention programs and dealing with root causes," they added.

Cotton previously accused the president of stacking the DOJ with anti-police "radicals" while also pointing to Clarke and Gupta.

Both Clarke and Gupta were narrowly confirmed by the Senate after their hearings.


Biden nominated Gupta for her job in the face of Republican concerns about her views on defunding the police, decriminalizing small amounts of drugs and ending qualified immunity for law enforcement officers.


Gupta has denied supporting the defund the police movement and apologized for her past rhetoric against Republicans. Her nomination saw support from over 50 city police chiefs across the country.

Clarke, the head of DOJ’s civil rights division, also faced scrutiny during her confirmation process for her controversial past writings on race as well as her role in organizing a conference that championed cop killers while she was a law student at Columbia.

The DOJ’s civil rights chief also pushed the debunked hate crime claims of actor Jussie Smollett and chastised the Chicago Police Department after the actor refused to turn his cellphone over for the investigation.

Fox News' Evie Fordham contributed to this report.

This story has been updated to include comment from the White House