Republicans have been consistently trying to portray Joe Biden as an anti-police crusader, despite the former vice president explicitly rejecting calls from the self-styled progressives to cut funds for police.
Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign spokesman has doubled down on criticism of Joe Biden as a police abolitionist.
Speaking on Fox News on Friday, Hogan Gidley said Biden only appears in public when he “pops his head out of his hidey-hole hole every once in a while to say ‘defund the police.’”
Biden has explicitly rejected calls to defund the police, but he has called for redirecting resources to address the root causes of crime.
“If you don’t think that ‘redirect’ is the same thing as ‘defund’, then let me ‘redirect’ your next paycheck into my bank account,” Gidley quipped. “It’s the exact same thing.”
Calls for defunding the police have grown in the wake of the in-custody death of George Floyd, and local policymakers have supported divestments and budget cuts in a number of major cities, including New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco, Baltimore, Portland, and Philadelphia. Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed on 25 May, has moved to abolish the police department outright and replace it with a community-led service.
Joe Biden, who has made a shift to the left in a bid to win over the left wing of the Democratic Party, has never endorsed defunding and proposed moderate alternatives instead. “I don’t support defunding the police,” he said in a CBS interview in June.
The former vice president has pledged to infuse $300 million into the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) programme, which provides funding for the hiring of police officers to assist state and local law enforcement officials. Federal money for the programme, however, decreased to the tune of several hundred million dollars during the Obama-Biden presidency.