President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign on Monday called on former Vice President Joe Biden to personally fully explain his position on a budding movement to defund police forces around the country.
A statement opposing the defunding of police departments from the Biden campaign’s rapid response director Andrew Bates is not good enough, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement Monday.
“Joe Biden cannot be let off the hook after his campaign issued a weak statement from a mid-level staffer,” Murtaugh said. “We still haven’t heard from Joe Biden himself on the radical ‘Defund the Police’ movement in the Democrat Party.”
The former vice president needs to show that he is prepared to lead his party away from a campaign to defang police officers, according to Trump spokesman Murtaugh.
“We have previously seen the Biden campaign say one thing on an issue right before their candidate says another,” Murtaugh added. “Until Americans hear from Joe Biden himself, they have no way of knowing where he really stands. Joe Biden is the leader of his party and he could single-handedly step in and steer elected Democrats away from this terrible policy.”
Bates released a statement Monday saying that Biden “does not believe that police should be defunded.”
Biden “hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain,” Bates said, and does support police reforms that create more diversity within the police force, Bates said.
“There are many police departments across the country who are seeking to realize these kinds of changes, but haven’t had the resources to — and the Trump administration has in fact made obtaining those resources more difficult,” Bates said.
The push to divert resources away from local police forces began amid demonstrations against the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes, video of the incident shows. “Defund the police” has become a common slogan among protesters and left-wing figures.
A “veto-proof majority” of the Minneapolis City Council pledged to eliminate the city’s police department on Sunday.
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