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Cori Bush Says Criticism Over Her Demand to Defund the Police A Matter of Figuring Out 'Comms Spaces'

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday where she was asked about her demands from earlier in the week to defund the police, all while she defended her use of private security in the same breadth.


Host Dana Bash played the clip of Bush saying:

I'm going to make sure I have security because I know I have had attempts on my life. And I have too much work to do, there are too many people that need help right now for me to allow that.

So, if I end up spending $200,000, if I spend 10 more dollars on it, you know what, I get to be here to do the work. So, suck it up. And defunding the police has to happen. We need to defund the police.

Bash also framed it that the reaction came from Republicans and said "I do want to emphasize I understand you have security protection because you have received multiple death threats." She also went on to ask the congresswoman "could those comments end up being harmful to your fellow Democrats, politically speaking?" Bash had pointed out that the clip was being used in attack ads.

Bush briefly addressed the point, though there was a "but" in there:

So, I don't believe -- as far as my -- as far as my colleagues, I absolutely empathize. I empathize. But you know what? The same thing that the Republicans will do, which is figure out how to work with this on the comms spaces, that's what we have to do.

My job is to save lives, the lives of my community, because, when we're when we're talking about every single year increasing the budget for police, and then the budget for, like, Health and Human Services continuing to shrink, and St. Louis being number one for police violence year after year after year, number one, number two for homicides year and year, after year...


The squad member more so focused on other talking points:

BUSH: I think what we have to look at is the fact that I made it to Congress in 2020, I was elected to Congress, and we are still fighting this same fight. We're still fighting to save black lives.

That was not -- that work was not done before I got here. This is the reason why I ran, was to save lives, to save my son's life. It was because Michael Brown, who we're fighting for, and still trying to get justice for. It's because he didn't get justice, and Vonderrit Myers didn't get justice, and Kajieme Powell didn't get justice, and so many others. That is why.

And because that was not -- that was not fixed before I got here, to then come at me and say you're the reason why we have these problems, no, the reason why we have these problems is because those that were in power and could have fixed this problem before now didn't and cost -- it cost lives.

Bash kept trying to cut in, in hopes to get the congresswoman to more fully answer her question:

BASH: Congresswoman...

BUSH: So, when we're adding more money to the police, but we're still dying.

BASH: Congresswoman, I...

BUSH: So, something has to change.

BASH: Congresswoman, I -- yes. And I hear what you're saying. But I also heard you say that you think it's a comms problem.

Is it that? Because...

BUSH: No, I'm saying that we can also -- that that's another way that you can tackle this.

You have to tackle it from more than one place. We have to work on what we want to say, what is our message, but then we also have to understand that we have to save lives too. St. Louis can't keep being put on the back burner. And I'm here to stand up for my community.


The NRCC released an ad about Bush's remarks almost immediately. "We want to thank Cori Bush for reminding everyone [that] Democrats are the party of Defund the Police," said spokesperson Michael McAdams. "While violent crime ravages communities, Democrats are spending campaign dollars on private security for themselves."

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