Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer told The Root on Tuesday that she supports “the spirit” of defunding police departments, before she clarified to say she didn’t.
“What is your response to the defunding the police campaigns?” reporter Terrell Jermaine Starr asked Whitmer.
“The spirit is really about reprioritizing, rebuilding communities,” she said, “not just policing.”
The governor lamented budgets being “overwhelmingly focused on policing and corrections systems and the criminal justice system.”
Whitmer said it should be focused on “the education of our population,” and a myriad of social programs.
“So do you support the defunding?” Starr pressed, which he described as “taking money from police departments.”
“I think you do all those other things, you don’t need all the money that’s going into police departments,” Whitmer said.
“So, yeah, I mean, the spirit of it, I do support that spirit of it,” she said.
Later that day, she told the Detroit Free Press, “Perhaps the words that I used on ‘The Root’ were maybe a little confusing, but they have never been other than I support rebuilding communities and rebuilding them in a way that creates real opportunity in an equitable and just manner.”
“I don’t believe police should be defunded,” she added.
The Free Press went on to report:
Asked whether she believed money could be found for those priorities by reducing spending on the Michigan State Police, for example, Whitmer said: “We are underinvested in almost every realm in the state government.”
Asked the question another way, Whitmer did not say she supported cutting police spending to achieve the other goals.
The paper noted Whitmer issued a series of police reforms on Wednesday, and her statement “did not mention defunding police or removing qualified immunity.”
Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of “The Kyle Olson Show,” syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays. Listen to segments on YouTube. Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook.