Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tries to distance himself from the idea of abolishing or defunding police departments, claiming that “nobody I know who’s running” ever talked about it during the election, apparently forgetting that members of ‘The Squad’ he adores have vocally expressed support for this movement into becoming a reality.
“Nobody I know who’s running for office talks about defunding the police,” Sanders said in an interview on CNN’s “State Of the Union” Sunday morning. “What we talk about is making police officers accountable, making sure that police departments do what they can do best, figuring out how you deal with mental illness, how you deal with homelessness, whether those are, in fact, police responsibilities, making sure the police officers are not killing innocent African-Americans. That is not defund the police.”
The host, Jake Tapper appeared senile as well and refused to correct or pressed Sanders’ assessment, despite the fact he had one of ’The Squad’ on his show talking about defunding police.
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-NY), appearing on the same show back in June amid the death of George Floyd stated that she wants a full dismantle of the Minneapolis Police Department.
“You can’t really reform a department that is rotten to the root. What you can do is rebuild,” Omar told Tapper in June, while dismissing moderate democrats who voice their opposition to the movement. “The current infrastructure that exists as policing in our city should not exist anymore. And we can’t go about creating a different process with the same infrastructure in place. And so dismantling it, and then looking at what funding priorities should look like as we reimagine a new way forward is what needs to happen.”
"You can't really reform a department that is rotten to the root. What you can do is rebuild," Rep. Ilhan Omar explains her calls to defund the police departments. "No one is saying crimes will not be investigated." #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/t3q10iJv3C— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) June 14, 2020
Meanwhile, the Squad leader, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has vocally called for a whole defunding of the NYPD, arguing “defunding police means defunding police” when expressing disdain over New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for only cutting $1 billion off the NYPD budget over the summer.
“Defunding police means defunding police,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement in June. “It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools.”
The other two members of ‘The Squad,’ Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Rep. Ayanna Presley (D-MA) backed a legislation plan dubbed the Breathe Act that radically calls for an overhaul of the criminal justice system by ending federal funding to local police departments, end federal law enforcement, disband DEA and ICE and an “a time-bound plan to close all federal prisons.”
Tlaib said activists calling to defund police want to move away from the over-policing of neighborhoods, the militarization of police, and the “criminalization” of poor people.
“We cannot police and incarcerate our way to thriving communities,” Tlaib told a local Detroit news in June.
While Sanders hasn’t vocally supported the sentiment fully, he has called for the stripping of federal funds of the local police department while addressing the issue of police brutality.
“Every police department violating people’s civil rights must be stripped of federal funding,” Sanders tweeted in June.
Since the election, moderate democrats have placed the blame on their progressive colleagues for pushing progressive socialist ideas and embracing the calls to “defund the police movement” as the reason over a dozen republicans flipped the House seats that led to a dismal majority. Republicans running in seats that turned blue during the midterms in 2018 weaponized the progressive mantra to show their voters their calls as radical and dangerous while showing the connection of their calls has heavily influenced liberal local officials across the nation to cut police budgets.
Sanders asserted that Americans broadly support progressive goals and maintained his confidence to fight to enact them under a possible Joe Biden presidency.
“I sometimes find it amusing when our opponents talk about the far-left agenda,” Sanders said. “The truth is that when you talk about raising the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour, when you’re talking about expanding health care to all people as a human right, when you talk about effectively taking on climate change, when you talk about making public colleges and universities tuition-free, these are not far-left ideas.”
He added, “These are commonsense ideas that the majority of the American people support. And we’re going to fight to make sure that they are implemented.”
The self-proclaimed Democratic socialist confirmed to Tapper that he is in talks with the Biden transition team regarding a cabinet position. Sanders has expressed his interest in becoming Labor Secretary. It remains to be seen if the Senators wish will become true and if he will be offered this position or a different cabinet post.