White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki accused Republicans of being the party of defunding the police on Monday — after “Defund the Police” became a rallying cry of progressive activists in 2020 and damaged Democrats’ appeal with moderate voters.
Republicans voted against President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was signed in March, even though it included $350 billion for state and local governments that could be used for local police.
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“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.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
“At the time, it was sold that local police departments might have pandemic-related budget shortfalls, not we need to keep cops on the beat because there’s a crime wave,” Doocy said.
“I think that any local department would argue that keeping cops on the beat to keep communities safe when they had to, because of budget shortfalls, fire police is something that helped them address crime in their local communities,” Psaki said, later adding that “it was a pretty good bill and piece of legislation.”
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