President Biden accused congressional Republicans Tuesday of “calling for … defunding the police” — an audacious attempt to distance Democrats from such calls ahead of the 2024 election.
The 80-year-old president made the claim during a visit with mass shooting survivors in Monterey Park, Calif., as he tries to position himself as tough on crime ahead of his anticipated re-election campaign.
“Congressional Republicans should pass my budget instead of calling for cuts in these [mental health] services or defunding the police or abolishing the FBI, as we hear from our MAGA Republican friends,” Biden said.
A spokesman for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) accused Biden of attempting to “distract from his unserious budget,” which was released last week.
“The Democrat Party is the well-established party of the destructive Defund the Police movement and soft-on-crime policies that are making cities across America less safe,” the McCarthy spokesman said.
“After all, Vice President [Kamala] Harris supported bailing out rioters during the summer of 2020, and 173 House Democrats voted to protect D.C.’s radical crime bill, which Biden himself will reverse when he signs a bill written and championed by House Republicans.”
Although some Republicans have called for abolishing the FBI in response to misconduct and alleged political bias in high-profile cases, it remains a minority position — and calls for defunding the police generally have come from Democrats, over the opposition of Republicans.
Furthermore, funding law enforcement is primarily a local government responsibility, rather than a federal one.
Biden’s accusation against Republicans comes just one week after Congress passed a Biden-backed bill to cancel a local DC reform that would have softened some criminal penalties over the objections of local officials and many congressional Democrats who insisted that Biden should respect the District’s self-governance.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates provided The Post with a list of examples of congressional Republicans supporting cuts to federal law enforcement agencies or programs, dating from the Trump administration through this year.
Examples included GOP opposition to federal subsidies distributed through the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing program and Republican efforts to scrap the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“The American people will not stand for further GOP sabotage of law enforcement,” Bates said.
“Republicans need to assure the nation that they will abandon their years-long efforts to defund the police by targeting the COPS program President Biden created as a senator, including in their budget.
“They should forcefully condemn their colleagues who are calling for defunding the FBI and the ATF. And they need to get with the program on gun crime by finally dropping their opposition to an assault weapons ban,…
Read More: Biden claims Republicans in Congress pushing ‘defunding the police’