White House Emphatically Distances Joe Biden from Rashida Tlaib Proposal to End Federal Prisons

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, D-MI, speaks to supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders at a campaign event in Clive, Iowa, on January 31, 2020. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)
JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

The White House emphatically distanced President Joe Biden from a radical proposal from Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to close federal prisons.

“Let me be absolutely clear: The President does not support abolishing prisons,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday at the daily press briefing after she was asked about Tlaib’s proposal.

Tlaib recently defended her proposal in an interview with Axios reporter Jonathan Swan, noting that many criminals in federal prison were suffering from mental illness.

“Obviously there’s a process of looking at how can we get away from mass incarceration, and move towards care first,” she said.

Psaki also distanced Biden from efforts to defund the police, despite the president himself saying during the 2020 campaign he would “absolutely” consider redirecting funds from police to other social programs.

“He does not support defunding the police,” she said. “He thinks measures like that will make us less safe and he would not support legislation that includes it.”

After the 2020 election, Biden warned civil rights leaders to ease off of the “defund the police” talking point during a private video conference that leaked to the public.

“I also don’t think we should get too far ahead of ourselves on dealing with police reform in that, because they’ve already labeled us as being ‘defund the police’ anything we put forward in terms of the organizational structure to change policing – which I promise you, will occur. Promise you,” Biden said in the leaked audio released by the Intercept In February.

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