Fact Check the Left: So Did Joe Biden Say He Wants to Defund the Police or Not?

Posted: Aug 25, 2020 1:00 PM
Fact Check the Left: So Did Joe Biden Say He Wants to Defund the Police or Not?

Source: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Lefty fact-checkers have been tripping over themselves in recent days trying to claim that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has never advocated for defunding the police, a common claim made by the Trump administration. On Monday, after Trump reiterated the point and a campaign ad for the president showed Biden saying he would "absolutely" defund the police, PolitiFact, Vox, NBC News, and Twitter all claimed that this was simply not true.

Biden himself soft-chuckled in an interview that aired on Sunday night when asked whether he believed that police should lose funding and flatly denied the claim. Hey, maybe that's what he believes now, or maybe that's what he thinks he's always believed, but just over a month ago, Biden clearly said he believed the police should be defunded.

In an interview with left-wing activist Ady Barkan, Biden painted a picture of police forces using surplus military equipment and rolling into neighborhoods with armored tanks, causing citizens to believe they were being invaded. As Biden began fading off to make another point in the NowThis interview, Barkan interrupted him to ask, "But do we agree that we can redirect some of the [police] funding?"

"Yes, absolutely!" Biden answered.

Semantics aside, there is no argument that enthusiastically agreeing that funds should be directed away from the police means anything other than wanting to defund the police. In their excitement to run a fact-check and smear the president's campaign efforts as a lie, PolitiFact completely omitted Biden's comments from that interview.

Unsurprisingly, every other "fact-checking" journalist left out the damning comment as well. Biden has never acknowledged that he said he would "absolutely" agree that police should be defunded, instead seizing the media's portrayal that Trump is simply lying about the whole affair.

PolitiFact noted that Team Trump even used the sound bite of Biden from the interview with Barkan saying "yes, absolutely," to the question about defunding the police. Instead of crediting that clip to the interview, however, they cast the use of the media as simply an unfair edit, with no additional context.

Beyond the fact that Biden has on at least one occasion said that he did believe police should be defunded, the Democratic National Convention featured several speakers that have openly advocated for defunding and even abolishing the police altogether.

In one daytime panel of the DNC, several left-wing activists hand-picked to appear in support of Joe Biden for president advocated for the total abolition of police, prisons, and ICE.

"Why can't folks imagine a world without the cops?" asked activist J Mai. Another panelist in the segment, meant to discuss LGBTQ issues, suggested that the Pledge of Allegiance, the words to which he did not know, weren't representative of his values.

Biden may think he supports more federal support for the police now, as he has in the past, but as the furthest left factions of the Democratic Party pressure the former vice president to align with their anti-cop values, it stands to reason that Biden's shifting policies are headed for yet another pivot.