President Donald Trump weighed in, Sunday morning, on calls to “defund the police” and “disband the police” from progressives — a crusade that former Vice President-turned-2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and other, more mainstream Democrats have begun to embrace.
In an early-Sunday tweetstorm, Trump called out the “radical left” for adopting the slogan as a prime demand of ongoing demonstrations against racism and police brutality taking place across the country, and Trump connected his presumptive 2020 opponent to the cause.
“Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to ‘DEFUND THE POLICE,’” Trump said. “I want great and well-paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!”
Black Lives Matter, which is sponsoring many of the protests, has made “defund the police” a top-line organizational demand, according to Fox News, and many protests that took place on Saturday featured speakers who called for law enforcement agencies to be stripped of funding and disbanded.
Although many commentators have shied away from the demand, preferring instead to say the slogan refers to police reform, not “cutting the pay of police officers or taking their pensions away” (as noted by MSNBC anchor, Stephane Ruhle), the implications of the policy are clear. Progressive activists, contrary to more mainstream legislators and commentators, have outlined their plan for defunding law enforcement, claiming the idea involves first slashing police budgets and eventually replacing police with community activists and social workers.
Defunding law enforcement, one lead activist told CNN, “means that we are reducing the ability for law enforcement to have resources that harm our communities…It’s about reinvesting those dollars into black communities, communities that have been deeply divested from.”
Legislators like Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have called, openly, for disbanding law enforcement. Omar made her call at a rally on Saturday in Minneapolis, drawing a stark contrast between herself and even the city’s progressive mayor, who said that, while police reforms are on the table, defunding the entire agency is not.
He was booed off the stage.
The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform.
It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 5, 2020
Joe Biden is among those who have not openly endorsed the “defund the police” movement, but he has been actively courting anti-racism activists over the course of the last week, criticizing Trump’s approach to the protests, and pledging to commit resources to law enforcement reform if he wins the White House in November.
“If elected, I am committed to establishing a national police oversight commission within 100 days of taking office,” Biden wrote in a lengthy post on the open-source site, Medium. “We need to implement real community policing and ensure that every police department in the country undertakes a comprehensive review of their hiring, their training, and their de-escalation practices, with the federal government providing the tools and resources needed to implement reforms.”
Biden, of course, had the opportunity to spearhead similar measures while serving as vice president from 2009 until 2017, but did not.
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