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Monday, August 2, 2021

EDITORIAL: Biden administration brazenly tries to frame Republicans as the defund-the-police party

It was shameless and desperate.

This week, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed Republicans voted to defund the police because they didn’t support President Joe Biden‘s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

It’s gaslighting of epic proportions, astonishing, really, in its effort to rewrite history.

First, let’s address Mr. Biden‘s “American Rescue Plan,” where the highlight of the legislation was the $1,400 stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits for the American public. Of the $1.9 trillion, $350 billion was set aside for states and cities. The aim was for these localities to use the funds to replenish their budgets due to the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdowns. It was never sold to the American people as an anti-crime bill and trying to reframe it as such is laughable.

Second, and most obviously, it’s those operating within the Biden administration that have openly supported defunding the police — while Republicans were loudly critical of the policy all of last year. There’s a reason why Mr. Biden didn’t win one endorsement from the largest police unions in the country, while Donald J. Trump kept racking them up as the candidate of “law and order.”

Mr. Biden‘s Vice President Kamala Harris said she supports “reimagining” the police, saying putting “more police on the streets,” is not the way to make communities safer. During the riots after George Floyd’s murder, Mrs. Harris encouraged donations to the “Minnesota Freedom Fund,” which bailed out people charged with murder, violent felonies, and sex crimes.

Within Mr. Biden‘s Department of Justice, two high-ranking officials openly supported the defunding of the police movement last year. Mr. Biden‘s U.S. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said it was “critical for state and local leaders to heed calls from Black Lives Matter and Movement for Black Lives activists to decrease police budgets and the scope, role, and responsibility of police in our lives.” Mr. Biden‘s Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Kristen Clarke wrote an op-ed last summer calling for defunding cops, saying “we must invest less in police.”

Mr. Biden‘s Labor Secretary Marty Walsh cut $12 million from Boston’s police budget while serving as mayor. And Mr. Biden‘s U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge advocated for defunding the police, saying “we need to be looking at it.”

Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, Mr. Biden remained mum, caving to the radical wing of his party. Rather than steering elected Democrats away from reimagining the police or diverting funds from it to go to social-workers, Mr. Biden stayed hidden in his basement.

The White House has seen the polling and knows their cop policies are bad — fewer than one in five people support defunding the police. Yet, rather than own the consequences of their anti-cop rhetoric and policies, they’re now trying to frame Republicans as the defund the police party. It’s brazen gaslighting, even for them.

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