The Washington Post’s Fact-Checker poked holes in the White House’s claim that Republicans were “defunding the police.”
How we got here: Both White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki and senior Biden adviser Cedric Richmond said that it’s the GOP that defunded the police, despite many Democrats expressing backing for proposals that aimed to slash municipal police department budgets.
Psaki and Richmond, in separate remarks, cited Republicans’ opposition to the $1.9-trillion coronavirus relief bill, pointing to the $350 billion that was allocated for state and local government aid.
“Republicans are very good at staying on talking points of who says defund the police, but the truth is, they defunded the police. We funded crime intervention and a whole bunch of other things,” Richmond argued.
Psaki was asked during a press briefing to name a GOP member that has expressed support for the defund the police movement, the press secretary said that “actions speak louder than words” and pointed to Republicans’ voting on the bill.
The fact-check: The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler largely dismissed these claims in the fact-check and gave them “Three Pinocchios.”
“Although Republicans all opposed Biden’s coronavirus relief package, no one voted to cut, or defund, anything. Rather, Democrats proposed $350 billion in emergency funds for state and local governments, and Republicans voted against those extra funds. That’s not a reduction,” the Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote.
Kessler then went into the details of President Biden’s plans regarding police budgets and funding, as well as the bill in question and the COPS program that Psaki mentioned.
In conclusion, he wrote: “We often fact-check claims in which huge spending bills are reduced to one cherry-picked expense out of thousands. In this case, there’s not even a line item to attach to the White House’s claim that Republicans are trying to defund the police. What’s more, voting against a one-time infusion of cash is not the same as voting to cut funding, so there is little basis to claim that Republicans are trying to ‘defund the police.'”
“Psaki and the White House are on more solid ground by framing this talking point in terms of the COPS program, which some Republicans did vote to cut funding for as recently as the Trump administration. That’s the only thing keeping this talking point from being a Four Pinocchio claim,” Kessler explained.
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