CLAIM: “President [Biden] ran and won decisively on a platform on increasing funding for law enforcement.”
VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE. Biden supported “redirecting” police funds, while Trump fought Biden’s “defund the police” allies.
President Joe Biden and his administration continue their desperate attempt to claim that it is Republicans, not Democrats, who want to “defund the police.”
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki claimed Republicans wanted to defund police because they opposed Biden’s massive $2 trillion “COVID relief bill.” That egregious lie was dealt with by Breitbart News’ Charlie Spieling, who noted that the bill did not specify police funding.
On Tuesday, Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates doubled down, repeating a debunked lie from the campaign: that Biden ran on funding police, while Trump wanted to cut police funds.
NEW — White House: Pres Biden ran and won on funding police, while Trump & GOP attempted to cut funding like COPS program and blocked resources. @AndrewJBates46 tells me POTUS is pursuing additional funding as part of “comprehensive approach to higher crime rates he inherited”. pic.twitter.com/l6mzT3MX9d
— Jacqui Heinrich (@JacquiHeinrich) June 29, 2021
As Breitbart News demonstrated last year, those claims are false — on both ends. First, it is beyond dispute that Democrats want to defund (or abolish) the police in major cities that they control, and that the party’s national leadership has not opposed them. Oakland is only the latest example.
Second, Biden specifically supported “redirecting” funding away from police during the 2020 presidential campaign. His staff, realizing how damaging “defund the police” was to the party’s prospects, tried to claim he opposed doing so. But as Breitbart News showed during a fact check, there is no practical difference between defunding the police and redirecting funding from police to other resources. That is, in fact, exactly what “defund the police” advocates want cities to do.
Third, President Trump never proposed defunding the police. His 2021 budget proposal — which he produced before the wave of nationwide unrest — called for shifting some federal responsibilities to state and local governments, and changing funding priorities, such as using money for border enforcement instead of for incarcerating illegal aliens. Trump also proposed increasing funding to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. When the unrest began, Trump proposed increasing funding to police departments in troubled cities like Chicago to stop a wave of unrest and the crime.
Bates — who has a long record of misleading and profane statements — attempted to defend the White House’s position by left-leaning PolitiFact, which rated one of Biden’s statements about Trump’s budget in 2020 as “mostly true.” The PolitiFact analysis ignored subsequent Trump proposals to increase funding to local law enforcement. In August 2020, for example, on receiving the unprecedented endorsement of the New York City police union, Trump pledged to “increase funding for police so that we can hire more police offices nationwide.” That was before PolitiFact’s article.
Meanwhile, Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, and several Biden staffers either contributed money or encouraged others to contribute money to bail funds for arrestees in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who were detained in anti-police riots.
President Biden did not run on increasing funding for police. He ran on “redirecting” funding, while Trump ran on increasing funding. To this day, his party continues to look for ways to cut funding to police, where it governs.
Bates’s claim that Biden “inherited” high crime rates is also disingenuous. The rise in crime in Democratic cities dates to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the “defund the police” movement, both supported by Biden’s party.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.