Members of the so-call Democratic “squad” are firing back after former President Barack Obama (D) ripped “snappy slogans” such as “defund the police.”
During an interview on Snapchat’s “Good Luck America” that aired on Wednesday, Obama suggested that the slogan had cost Democrats votes in the general election.
Check out the reactions below:
What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020
The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020
Activists take that discomfort w/ the status quo & advocate for concrete policy changes. Popular support often starts small & grows.
To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable… that’s the point.
We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020
The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific. Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists.— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) December 2, 2020
Whatever a grieving family says is their truth.
And I’ll never stop fighting for their justice & healing.
Rosa Parks was vilified & attacked for her civil disobedience. She was targeted. It's hard seeing the same people who uplift her courage, attack the movement for Black lives that want us to prioritize health, funding of schools & ending poverty, rather than racist police systems.— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) December 2, 2020
Newly elected members of Congress who share a similar ideology with “the squad” also reacted to Obama’s comments.
With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020
It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi
Damn, Mr. President.— Jamaal Bowman (@JamaalBowmanNY) December 2, 2020
Didn’t you say “Trayvon could’ve been my son?”
In 2014, #BlackLivesMatter was too much.
In 2016, Kaepernick was too much.
Today, discussing police budgets is too much.
The problem is America's comfort with Black death — not discomfort with slogans. https://t.co/DJUSZebgW5
During the interview, Obama said, “You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done.”
He added, “The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?”
The phrase “defund the police” became a popular rallying cry of protesters against racism and police brutality after the death of George Floyd in May.
Obama is not alone in his criticism of the phrase. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) also blamed the phrase for Democrats coming up short in Congressional races, as IJR reported.
Specifically, he suggested it had a negative impact on South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaimie Harrison’s chances, “That stuff hurt Jaimie, and that’s why I spoke out against it a long time ago. I’ve always said that these headlines can kill a political effort.”
“We are all about making headway, and I just hope that going forward, we will think about each one of these Congressional districts and let people represent their districts,” he added.