A far-left activist who was voted off the Minneapolis City Council after aligning with the 2020 Defund the Police movement has joined former President Barack Obama’s foundation as a top staffer.
Phillipe Cunningham, a former Minneapolis city council member until 2021, is the new U.S. deputy director lead of global leadership programs for the foundation, according to social media posts. Cunningham and other council members were voted out in November 2021 after backing a failed policing charter that would have replaced the Minneapolis Police Department with a “public-health oriented” safety department.
“It’s already been extraordinary being a part of the Obama Foundation family,” Cunningham wrote on LinkedIn this Monday. “A big THANK YOU! to President Obama, the First Lady, and the Foundation’s leaders for such an amazing opportunity to serve! Also, thank you to everyone who has believed in and supported me with a special shout-out to my wonderful husband, Lane!”
Cunningham and Obama appeared together at a virtual “reimagining policing” town hall in June 2020, just weeks after the murder of George Floyd. That same month, Cunningham spoke at a rally advocating for defunding the police department, later backpedaling on his attendance and claiming he did not see the giant “defund police” sign in front of the stage, the Minnesota Reformer reported.
Still Cunningham spoke positively at the rally about individuals who “threw the first bricks at police officers” during New York city’s 1969 Stonewall Riots, The Washington Free Beacon reported. Cunningham argued Minneapolis residents could keep their “community safe” without police, the outlet reported.
Jeremy Miller, the majority leader in the Minnesota Senate, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the defund-the-police movement and similar “anti-police rhetoric has diminished the law enforcement profession.”
“Simply put, we need to provide more support to law enforcement professionals who keep our communities safe, and criminals need to be held accountable for their actions,” said Miller.
Warren Limmer, the Senate Republican chair of the judiciary and public safety finance committee, told TheDCNF that “birds of a feather flock together,” upon learning that Cunningham will now be working for Obama’s foundation.
“Defund-the-police movement was a wake up call for criminals,” Limmer said, explaining that a major problem in Minneapolis has been police fleeing the department.
BIG NEWS! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/77z5egXX6j
— Phillipe M. Cunningham (@pm_cunningham) June 27, 2022
The hiring of Cunningham comes after Obama has been critical of the defund-the-police movement.
Obama cautioned people against using defund-the-police rhetoric in 2020, claiming the “snappy slogan” makes activists lose “a big audience.” The former president also said in 2020 “the phrase implies that somehow we could do without police or that the police are the source of our problem,” Complex reported.
Obama’s foundation did not respond to a request for comment, nor did Cunningham.
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