President Joe Biden earned some bipartisan applause for saying “fund the police” during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night but got mixed reactions from activists and politicians.
“Let’s not abandon our streets. Or choose between safety and equal justice,” President Biden said. “We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. The answer is to fund the police. Fund them with resources and training they need to protect our communities.”
Biden also noted that the American Rescue Plan provided $350 billion for local governments to hire more police and invest in “proven strategies like community violence interruption.” His statement comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the slogan “has no place” and is not Democrats’ position.
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Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) called Biden “desperate” and accused him of using President Donald Trump’s “old lines.” While Rep. Val Demings and Rep. Josh Gottheimer tweeted in support of Biden’s comments.Rep. Cori Bush(D-Mo.) called out Biden for failing to mention “Black Lives Matter” in his speech.
“All our country has done is given more funding to police. The result? 2021 set a record for fatal police shootings. Defund the police. Invest in our communities,” Bush tweeted.
DeRay McKesson, activist and writer, tweeted the police shouldn’t receive funding due to their lack of accountability and protection for the community. The Black Lives Matter organization didn’t release a statement after Biden’s speech but tweeted a photo of Rep.Maxine Waters’ seemingly appalled reaction.
Some criticized Biden for highlighting the police and not others such as resources for teachers. Ian Haworth, podcast host on the Daily Wire, noted the irony of Vice President Kamala Harris applauding for Biden’s comments while also supporting protesters who were arrested for cheering “defund the police.”
During the summer 2020 protests after George Floyd’s death, Harris tweeted in support of a nonprofit called the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which pays criminal bail and immigration bonds, and encouraged her supporters to donate to it.
Follow Gabriela Miranda on Twitter: @itsgabbymiranda