Still reeling from the left-wing backlash to his recent criticism of “defund the police,” former president Barack Obama (D) appeared on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show on Tuesday where he appeared to strike a conciliatory note by praising the activists behind the movement, calling them courageous and media savvy.
But he also doubled down on his criticism of the actual slogan, saying that it can alienate potential Black Lives Matter allies.
Obama’s laudatory words for “defund the police” activists come as major cities are experiencing soaring crime rates. New York City saw shootings more than double in November, according the an NY Police Department report. For the first 11 months of the year, shootings in the city have risen nearly 96 percent.
In Los Angeles, homicides are up 25 percent from last year so far, while in Chicago, murders and shootings have increased more than 50 percent.
Speaking to host Trevor Noah, Obama sang the praises of BLM activists who have pushed for police departments around the country to be stripped of public funding. Their activism has yielded results in a handful of major cities, including New York, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis, where Democrat politicians have deprived local law enforcement of tens of millions of dollars.
“Nothing made me more optimistic during a difficult year than the activism that we saw in the wake of George Floyd’s murder,” Obama said.
“I have consistently believed that their courage, activisms, media savvy, strategic resolve far exceeds anything I could’ve done at their age and I think has shifted the conversation in ways I would not have even imagined a couple of years ago.”
He cautioned that the slogan has the potential to backfire.
“That particular slogan I think the concern is that there may be potential allies out there that you’d lose. And the issue always is: how do you get enough people to support your cause that you can actually institutionalize it and translate it into laws,” Obama said.
He said that more universal slogans like President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and his own “Yes We Can” serve better to unite people.
“Can we be precise with our language enough that people who might be persuaded around that particular issue to make a particular change that gets a particular result that we want. What’s the best way for us to describe that?”
Democrats lashed out at Obama earlier this month when he first spoke out against the “defund the police” slogan during an interview with Peter Hamby on an episode of “Good Luck America.”
As Breitbart News reported, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) fired back at the former president on Twitter, writing, “We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand.” Democrat congresswoman-elect Cori Bush, who will represent Missouri’s First Congressional District, also lashed out at Obama: “With all due respect, Mr. President — let’s talk about losing people.”