Trump Says Biden Wants to Defund the Police.
Biden’s campaign says he ‘does not believe that police should be defunded’
President Donald Trump accused former Vice President Joe Biden of wanting to defund the police, a charge Biden’s campaign challenged.
“Biden wants to defund the police,” Trump, a Republican, said in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.
“He signed a charter with Bernie Sanders,” Trump added before being interrupted by Wallace.
Biden’s campaign said in June the presumptive Democratic nominee “does not believe that police should be defunded.”
Biden has signaled support for redirecting money from police departments.
The 77-year-old was asked by an activist about whether some police funding needs to be redirected. “Yes, absolutely,” Biden said.
According to Rayshawn Ray, a governance studies fellow at the Brookings Institution, defunding the police “means reallocating or redirecting funding away from the police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality.”
“While the word ‘reallocate’ may be a more palatable, digestible word on the House floor or at a city council meeting, ‘defund’ surely gets more attention on a protest sign. And more importantly, it seems to be having an impact,” Ray wrote in a blog post.
Biden and his campaign have said he does not support defunding the police.
“Biden supports the urgent need for reform—including funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing—so that officers can focus on the job of policing,” Andrew Bates, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement sent to news outlets.
“This also means funding community policing programs that improve relationships between officers and residents, and provides the training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths.”
Biden was asked during an interview with CBS whether he supports defunding the police.
“No. I don’t support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness, and in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community and everybody in the community,” Biden replied.
Trump was referring to a set of policy recommendations from task forces that include Biden supporters along with people who support Sanders, a senator who was running for the Democratic presidential nomination before quitting the race earlier this year.
A task force on policing recommended dispersing federal funding “to create a civilian corps of unarmed first responders.”
The corps would include social workers, mental health professionals, and others “who can handle nonviolent emergencies including order maintenance violations, mental health emergencies, and low-level conflicts outside the criminal justice system, freeing police officers to concentrate on the most serious crimes,” according to the recommendations.
The document doesn’t explicitly say the formation of the corps would lead to the defunding of police. But many similar proposals, such as ones in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Berkeley, California, are funded by diverting funds that would have gone to police departments.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, a Democrat, told reporters that funding for new department comprised of unarmed workers would be taken from money originally designated for hiring more police officers. The unarmed workers are going to be sent to 911 calls that don’t involve violence, officials said.