The White House has attempted to change the narrative with regards to the conversation surrounding "defunding the police" movement. Press Secretary Jen Psaki has now said multiple times that because Republicans declined to vote for a massive spending bill, they are in favor of defunding the police.
On Wednesday, addressing a question from Fox News' Peter Doocy, she again made that claim, saying "Actions speak louder than words, Peter."
"You mentioned at the last briefing that you think Republicans wanted to defund police because they did not support the American Rescue plan," Doocy asked. "Which Republican ever said that they did not like the American Rescue Plan because they wanted to defund the police?"
"First, let me just note that the President ran, and won the most votes of any candidate in history on a platform of boosting funding for law enforcement after Republicans spent decades trying to cut the COPS program.
"There's record of that, that doesn't require any new comments, and then also stood in the way of crucial funding needed to prevent the laying off of police officers as crimes increased," Psaki said, doubling down on her statements that the GOP are opposed to funding for law enforcement. "That's a simple statement of fact," she said.
"I understand what you're saying there," Doocy said, "but there are lots of examples of Democrats explicitly saying they want to defund the police." He listed off several Democrat lawmakers, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cori Bush, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar. "Are there any examples of Republican members of Congress saying they want to defund the police?"
"I think most people would argue that actions are more important than words," retorted Psaki, "wouldn't you say?"
"To your point," Doocy replies, "at the time of the on the American Rescue Plan, the Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said he 'just didn't like it because it was a classic example of of big government Democratic overreach in the name of Covid relief."
"And then Kevin McCarthy said," Doocy quoted, "that he thought 'Democrats were using coronavirus as an excuse to justify funding pet projects. Where is the 'we're going to vote against this because we want to defund the police?'"
"Again," Psaki said, "I think actions speak louder than words, Peter, so if you opposed funding for the COPS program, something that was dramatically cut by the prior administration, and many Republicans support it, and then you vote against a bill that has funding for the COPS program, we can let other people evaluate what that means. It doesn't require them to speak to it or shout it out, but their actions speak for themselves."
The American Rescue Plan was a massive, $1.9 trillion spending package that included "a $300 million increase for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring program in his recent budget request."
Per the Department of Justice, the COPS program that Psaki was referring to is one that was created in 1994, with a mission to "develop innovative programs... to shift law enforcement’s focus to preventing, rather than reacting to, crime and disorder." The program is also intended to "advance public safety through community policing."
The COPS Office awards grants "directly to law enforcement agencies across the United States and its territories," and in so doing has "helped create a community policing infrastructure across the nation."
Additionally, "COPS also partners with law enforcement experts and the academic community to develop and produce information products that highlight ongoing and new law enforcement issues and/or successful community policing strategies used by law enforcement departments throughout the country in response to commonly shared crime and disorder problems. The COPS Office has distributed more than 2 million topic-specific publications, training curricula, white papers, and resource CDs through the COPS Office Response Center and another 2 million copies have been downloaded from the website."
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