As members of “The Squad” often do, Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) has given House Democrats fresh nightmares of a repeat of their election losses in 2020 after idiotic comments she made on CBS News this week defending paying $70,000 for private security this year while advocating for defunding the police, saying that “if I end up spending $200,000, if I spend $10 more dollars on it — you know what, I get to be here to do the work. So suck it up, and defunding the police has to happen.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee responded immediately with a powerful new ad referencing Bush’s remarks, and NRCC spokesman Michael McAdams issued a statement in which he thanked Bush for “reminding everyone [that] Democrats are the party of Defund the Police. While violent crime ravages communities, Democrats are spending campaign dollars on private security for themselves.”
The heat Bush took over that interview reached all the way to the White House today when, during the daily press briefing, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy questioned press secretary Jen Psaki on the issue, asking how what Bush said squared with Biden’s claim that Democrats are not in favor of defunding the police. Here’s how the full back and forth went down:
Doocy: Democratic Congresswoman Cori Bush is saying that she favors spending tens of thousands on private security to keep her safe, and that people should, quote, “Suck it up…defunding the police has to happen.” Didn’t President Biden say a few weeks ago that anybody who accuses the party of being anti-police is lying?
Psaki: Well, I think we shouldn’t lose the forest through the trees here, which is that a member of Congress, an elected official, is concerned that her life is threatened. And that’s disturbing that any elected official would have to suffer death threats and fear for their life. So I’m not going to comment, of course, on their security arrangements. I don’t have any more details on that, but I think we should start with that point first.
I will say that the President has been crystal clear that he opposes defunding the police. He has said that throughout the campaign — his campaign for office. His record over the last several decades has made that clear. He has proposed increased funding for law enforcement and the COPS program, increased funding from his predecessor — who was, as you might note or be aware of, a Republican. So I’d note that his record is pretty clear on this.
There may be some in the Democratic Party, including Congresswoman Bush, who disagree with him. That’s okay. But I would say the majority of Democrats — we’ve seen this in polling — and the majority of members also agree that we should not defund the police.
Doocy: Is there a greater concern, though — I understand that’s not the President’s position, but is there a concern that defunding the police or “suck it up…defunding the police has to happen” might become a big Democratic message ahead of the midterms?
Psaki: It does not appear to become — be becoming a Democratic message, even though there might be a desire for that on the other side of the aisle.
HERE WE GO: Peter Doocy asks Jen Psaki about Congresswoman Cori Bush saying people need to "suck it up" and #defundthepolice and how that squares w/Biden insisting Democrats is not the #defundthepolice party. An annoyed Psaki then accuses him of "losing the forest thru the trees" pic.twitter.com/pQz8MoCYeo
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 5, 2021
Doocy: "is there a concern that defunding the police or 'suck it up defunding the police has to happen' might become a big Democratic message ahead of the midterms?
Psaki: "It does not appear to become — becoming a Democratic message" despite Republicans wanting to be one pic.twitter.com/Mx1mBX3rxM
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 5, 2021
First things first, contra to Psaki’s insinuation, there isn’t a single person suggesting Bush shouldn’t have private security. As an elected official she has no doubt received threats like the rest of them do, and taking extra precautionary measures to ensure safety is wise.
The problem is here that most people don’t have the luxury to be able to afford their own security team, much less the type of private security Bush has, so they look to the police to provide it for them. Bush wants to defund the police and put the money into various community programs and have social workers involved in solving criminal matters instead of the police. That’s a recipe for disaster, as numerous current and former police chiefs across the country have already attested.
Second, House Democrats got dragged with the “Defund the Police” label last year not simply for expressing sympathy for BLM radicals who chanted “Defund the Police”, but also because some of those same Democrats used anti-police rhetoric of their own, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris, who (obviously) went on to become Joe Biden’s vice presidential nominee.
Even Biden himself said last year he was open to reallocating funds from police departments to other programs though he stopped short of calling for a full defunding.
It’s not just about defunding, it’s also about the rhetoric used to tar and feather all police officers with the same brush. It has the same effect of demoralizing police departments and causing en masse retirements, as has been the case in Minneapolis, Chicago, and other Democrat-run cities.
In addition to that and as I’ve said before, the funding issues for police start at the local level. In “progressive” cities like Portland and Oakland, radical leftists are going to put Defund the Police candidates in local offices and their stances are oftentimes in line with their Congressional representatives, just has been the case with Cori Bush.
For Democrats – especially House Dems, there is simply no escaping the taint of being tied to the “Defund” movement, regardless of their funding of the COPS program. For many voters, it’s not just actions that matter but words. And when members of your party try to have it both ways on the issue by bashing the police on one hand while voting to fund them with the other, people take notice and respond accordingly at the ballot box – just like they did in 2020.