Trump adviser slams ‘weak statement’ from Biden campaign on calls to defund police
Murtaugh, on a morning during a call with reporters, criticized former Vice President Joe Biden for being mum on the issue of defunding the police, and being “unable to stand up to the most extreme elements in his party.”
Minutes after the call, Biden campaign Rapid Response Director Andrew Bates released a statement clarifying that Biden “does not believe that police should be defunded.”
“Joe Biden cannot be let off the hook after his campaign issued a weak statement from a mid-level staffer,” Murtaugh said in response Monday. “We still haven’t heard from Joe Biden himself on the radical ‘Defund the Police’ movement in the Democrat Party.”
Murtaugh added that “it would have been the simplest thing in the world to stick his name on a statement, but he didn’t even do that.”
“We have previously seen the Biden campaign say one thing on an issue right before their candidate says another,” Murtaugh continued. “Until Americans hear from Joe Biden himself, they have no way of knowing where he really stands.”
He added: “Joe Biden is the leader of his party and he could single-handedly step in and steer elected Democrats away from this terrible policy, which invites chaos in American communities, but he has remained secluded in his basement saying nothing.”
“The ‘Defund the Police’ train has already left the Democrat station, and Joe Biden is merely a weak passenger,” Murtaugh said.
Murtaugh’s comments come after Bates’ statement noted that Biden’s criminal justice proposal made clear that Biden does not support the movement to defund the police.
“He 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, adding that Biden supports “the urgent need for reform.” He said that includes “funding for public schools, summer programs, and mental health and substance abuse treatment separate from funding for policing — so that officers can focus on the job of policing.”
The Biden campaign pointed toward the former vice president’s criminal justice plan, which proposes an additional $300 million for community policing. Bates said that the funding would “improve relationships between officers and residents” and would “provide the training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths.”
“This funding would also go toward diversifying police departments so that they resemble the communities in which they serve,” Bates added, noting that there is need for “additional funding for body-worn cameras.”
The campaign’s statement came as a push by activists to defund, dismantle or otherwise overhaul police departments was gaining momentum in major cities — most notably Minneapolis, where George Floyd’s death while in police custody touched off nationwide protests and calls for policy changes in law enforcement.
In a stunning development, Minneapolis’ left-leaning City Council members on Sunday announced a veto-proof push to disband the Minneapolis police, even as the mayor made clear he does not support abolishing the department.
What defunding the police looks like is different in various localities. In Minneapolis, the supermajority of the City Council seemingly supports a complete structural dismantling of the department. In other places, departments would remain in place but get fewer government resources, with some of their funding directed toward social justice programs.
President Trump on Monday issued a broad condemnation of the “defund” push.
“LAW & ORDER, NOT DEFUND AND ABOLISH THE POLICE. The Radical Left Democrats have gone Crazy!” he tweeted.