After weeks of protests since George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, political parties are having to tackle growing racial tensions across the country. The decisions of lawmakers, at a local, state, and federal level differ in approach, magnitude, and even outcome.
Some lawmakers on the Left are calling to defund the police.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several of her colleagues knelt down in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, just moments before they unveiled a sweeping police reform bill.
In response to the protests, Pelosi said: “the massive number of people walking in support of ending violence in terms of the police department is something that we have to recognize.”
The Democratic leader said she is hoping for “improvement in justice [and] in policing,” MSNBC reports. She also said she is seeking an “end to racial profiling, chokeholds” and to see the “prosecution of wrongdoing in the police department.”
The Californa congresswoman also accused President Trump of “ignoring what we’re seeing right before our very eyes.”
And, Breitbart News reports:
Host Stephanie Ruhle asked, “When you talk about racial justice, national security, these are issues that matter to all Americans. The way the president is saying it, these are liberal rules, as though you’re trying to create a lawless society. That’s obviously not what you are doing. So when you look at the term defunding the police, how do you define it?”
Pelosi said, “Well, first of all, I don’t pay that much attention to what the president says because it doesn’t have anything to do with the reality of the situation. He is ignoring what we’re seeing right before our very eyes — denying it, wanting us to believe him rather than what we’re seeing with our very eyes. The issue of budgeting is one that should be a statement of our values. What we care about should be how we allocate our resources, and we do care about safety. So we’ll have various measures that relate to, some for the responsibilities that some in law enforcement have, that relate to domestic violence. We’re hoping it will pass legislation that has the violence against women act in it and the funding that goes with that. But I wouldn’t get hung up on one phrase or another. What we want to do is pass our bill for justice and policing.”
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Some lawmakers on the Right are calling to defend the police.
President Trump is taking a much different approach.
Politico reports: “Trump’s die-hard conservative base is unnerved by what they view as an extreme solution from extreme leftists. To them, addressing the problem by slashing resources to law enforcement is an attack on the central tenet of the Republican Party — law and order — and one that Trump himself is setting up as a wedge issue to bolster his case for reelection in the coming months.”
Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw described the “defund the police” movement as “dangerous, counterproductive, and deeply irrational.”
“‘Defund the police’ is not a call from the fringes of the far left anymore. It has gone from a radical slogan to actual policy in a major American city, within days.”
This is dangerous, counterproductive, and deeply irrational. “Defund the police” is not a call from the fringes of the far left anymore. It has gone from a radical slogan to actual policy in a major American city, within days. https://t.co/sLAqYADbaw
— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) June 8, 2020
Fox radio host Dan Bongino, a Trump ally, similarly described the “defund the police” movement as a “the deadliest public policy disaster in modern American history.”
“ANY politician who refuses to speak out against this abomination should be forced to attend the thousands of funerals of innocents that will result,” he added.
The “defund the police” movement, if it’s enacted, will be the deadliest public policy disaster in modern American history. ANY poltician who refuses to speak out against this abomination should be forced to attend the thousands of funerals of innocents that will result.
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) June 7, 2020
On his Fox News program, Tucker Carlson predicted that defunding the police was “a move toward authoritarian social control cloaked in the language of identity politics,” among other charges, envisioning a future ruled by a “woke militia” where “the diversity and inclusion department at Brown University had the power to arrest you.”
“Conservatives have always taken pride in themselves about being the law and order party, and Republicans of being the law and order party,” said Jonathan Blanks, a visiting fellow at the free market-oriented Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, who focuses on police reform. “Because that goes hand in hand, the idea that you would attack one of the most trusted and respected institutions in the country, is anathema to that way of thinking.”
Bypassing subtlety, Trump repeatedly tweeted his opposition to the concept in recent days by saying that while the “Radical Left Democrats” and Joe Biden wanted to defund the police, he was the candidate of “LAW ENFORCEMENT.”
“Sorry, I want LAW & ORDER!” Trump wrote.