On June 23rd, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), tweeted out that President Biden has stacked the Department of Justice (DOJ) with “radicals who want to defund the police.”
This tweet was in response to a video of White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaking on violent crimes in America. Fox News’ Peter Doocy was questioning her about the President’s stance on responding to the rise of violent crimes in the past year. While being questioned, she confirmed that Biden has “never supported defunding the police.” Earlier in the week Psaki stated, “I think the President believes we shouldn’t allow access to guns to those criminals who are illegally buying them from dealers across the country.”
She goes on to say that Republicans are the party which actually supported defunding the police. “Part of it is also ensuring specific guidance to communities to ensure they have funding to get more community police. Something that was supported by the American Jobs Plan… Some might say the other party was for defunding the police,” she states.
In the past few days, Cotton has sent out a multitude of tweets referring to how he feels about Biden’s take on reform for violent crimes: “This is the most anti-gun and pro-crime administration in American history”; “Joe Biden wants to ignore the gun crimes happening across America. But he wants to take away the rifles you use to defend yourself from criminals”; “Joe Biden’s solution to the crime wave includes ‘summer job training.’ What a joke.”
Cotton revealed that the “anti-police radicals” he was referring to were DOJ officials Kristen Clarke and Vanita Gupta. He added “America’s police officers already face enough danger and hardship – they shouldn’t have to worry if the DOJ will have their back”. From a speech in March 2021, Cotton said, “Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke both support defunding, disarming, and defaming our police. They stand with the perpetrators of crime—not with the victims of it”.
While Psaki was responding to Doocy’s questions, she said that she is not aware of any changes to Biden’s support when it came to ending the cash bail. Doocy also mentions that morale is at an all time low with police officers, which Psaki said “We’re not the right entity to give you an assessment of that..The president has never supported defunding the police, he’s always supported the community policing programs, he’s supported giving funding to states and localities throughout the country through his American Resue Plan”.
According to a report done in late 2020 by The Philadelphia Inquirer, many police officers quit their job in bigger cities, leaving them with smaller law enforcement. This could have led to the rise in crimes since the “defund the police” movement started. Psaki focused her points on how guns are the sole reason behind the rise in violent crimes. Cotton believes it is a bad idea to take away guns where gun violence is prevalent, since this is what one could use to “defend against criminals,” as Sen. Cotton tweeted.