In my Monday fact check of two significant exchanges between President Trump and Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace, I noted that Trump's assertion that Biden favors defunding the police was inaccurate -- and that even though he had a fairly compelling riposte available to him on this policy point, he failed to use it, instead stumbling into another error. What the president could and should have said is that Biden recently told a left-wing interviewer that he "yes, absolutely" agrees that some police funding should be "redirected" elsewhere. This stance mirrors how many advocates and defenders of the 'defund the police' slogan have defined the term. A new poll from ABC News and the Washington Post finds that even in this fraught climate, redirecting police funds is underwater by double digits:
However, only 40 percent support cutting funding to police in order to spend more on social services, while 55 percent oppose such a move. Among Democrats, 59 support cutting funding, but only 14 percent of Republicans and 42 percent of independents. Meanwhile, 63 percent oppose paying reparations to Black people whose ancestors were enslaved. Only 31 percent support it...When asked about the recent backlash against the police, just over half, 51 percent, say it has gone too far, while 12 percent say not far enough, and 29 percent think it has been justified.
A Morning Consult survey released a month ago found "defund the police" underwater by 30 points (28/58), with voters split (43/42) on the "redirect" question. The new poll finds a 15-point majority cutting against repurposing police dollars for other services. Relatedly, while there may be some real benefits to reining in over-policing around the country, are 'solutions' like this thought through? Are local politicians even thinking about the unintended consequences that could impact citizens if new policies like this go into effect?
After hours of emotional public testimony and a middle-of-the-night vote by Berkeley leaders, the progressive California city is moving forward with a novel proposal to replace police with unarmed civilians during traffic stops in a bid to curtail racial profiling. The City Council early Wednesday approved a police reform proposal that calls for a public committee to hash out details of a new Berkeley Police Department that would not respond to calls involving people experiencing homelessness or mental illness. The committee also would pursue creating a separate department to handle transportation planning and enforcing parking and traffic laws...The council voted for the committee to find ways to eventually cut the Police Department's budget by half...
Traffic stops can be dangerous and even deadly for armed police officers, as they sometimes uncover additional illegal or criminal activity in the course of writing tickets for infractions. Six cops were killed in the line of duty while executing traffic stops last year, according to FBI statistics. I'm curious how such stops would be enforced, if not by officers of the law with cars equipped with lights and sirens. As for barring the police from responding to incidents involving "people experiencing homelessness or mental illness," how would that work? Is it really safe or responsible to send unarmed counselors, or some alternative form of official, into a situation that could very well include someone who is committing crimes while violently mentally ill? The city of Berkeley already has a serious crime problem. Meanwhile, in Minnesota, I wonder how this idea would poll?
“If you’re a woman who’s been a victim of a sexual assault, and the assailant ran away, wouldn’t you rather talk to somebody who is trained in helping you deal with what you’re dealing with, as opposed to somebody whose main training is that they know how to use a firearm? Right?”
This might be an interesting thought experiment to be bandied about by college sophomores in a late night bull session, and maybe there's more to Ellison's argument, but this appears to be Minnesota's top law enforcement official wondering if rape victims might be better off not interacting with police if their assailant has already fled. And he seems to think that sex crimes detectives' overwhelming qualification in handling such matters is firearms training. It's quite a soundbyte from a longtime national Democratic official -- who, by the way, was a follower of raging bigot Louis Farrakhan, and has promoted the lawless Antifa mob.
In any case, it sure would be nice to get a sense of what Biden actually means when he endorses "redirecting" police funds, how that would work in his mind, and what his administration's policies would prioritize on these fronts. As I said on the air earlier in the week, President Trump sat down for what he knew would be a very tough interview, giving Chris Wallace the full hour to pursue questions on numerous subjects, including challenging and probing follow-ups. Biden is more or less running a campaign-in-hiding, which may be working as a political matter. But the man wants to be president and voters deserve to hear him questioned seriously and adversarially on a regular basis:
I'll leave you with Brit Hume panning Trump's performance with Wallace, and stating that if he were a Biden aide, he'd do everything in his power to prevent his boss from agreeing to a Fox News Sunday interview: