The Washington Post is giving some Republican lawmakers “four Pinocchios” over their claims that President Joe Biden wants to defund police departments.
In a fact-checking piece by the Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler published on Tuesday, Kessler pointed out tweets from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) accusing Biden of supporting the policy.
“During the 2020 election, the Trump campaign desperately tried to claim that Joe Biden was a supporter of the ‘defund the police’ movement advocated by some elements of the Democratic Party,” Kessler wrote.
He continued, “But as we noted, Trump had a problem: Biden firmly rejected calls from left-wing activists to defund police and in fact said he would double funding for a community policing program that would put more officers on the street.”
Kessler went on to note that the Post called out Trump during the presidential campaign for claiming Biden wanted to defund police departments and, “Here we are, six months into Biden’s presidency, and Republicans are still making this false claim.”
Additionally, Kessler pointed out that “only in rare instances are liberal advocates calling for the outright elimination of police departments.” Instead, he noted that activists usually typically use the phrase to call for redirecting some funds from police departments to other services.
“At The Fact Checker, we obviously take no position on the issue. But this is a catchphrase that can be easily twisted to mean something else — leaving the door wide open for political attacks,” he added.
He credited Cruz with offering to provide evidence that Biden supports defunding the police. However, he said Cruz’s Twitter thread “does not prove that abolishing police is an actual Biden administration policy position.”
“Instead, it cites statements made by two of Biden’s Justice Department appointments before they joined the administration: Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, and Vanita Gupta, associate attorney general,” Kessler explained.
Kessler noted that Banks cited comments from Vice President Kamala Harris before she was the vice presidential nominee and from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) who is not part of the administration.
“In other words, Cruz and Banks have no basis for claiming that abolishing police or supporting the defund police movement is a Biden administration position,” Kessler said.
Instead, Kessler noted that Biden “proposed to more than double the funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Program. Funding is provided to state and local governments to hire law enforcement officers, thus inflating the size of police departments.”
Finally, he said, “Republicans keep trying to tag Biden with being part of the defund police movement. But that’s simply false. The flimsiness of the charge is demonstrated by the paucity of the evidence that lawmakers muster when making their hyperbolic claims.”
“The reality is this: Biden wants to boost federal funding to allow for the hiring of more police officers. He said that during the campaign and then fulfilled that pledge in his initial budget proposal. The president sets the policies in his administration — and he’s been entirely consistent,” Kessler added.
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