In the place of a canceled second debate, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden squared off in competing televised town hall events on Thursday evening.
One exchange between ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos and Biden elicited the latter’s acknowledgment that his sponsorship of a 1994 crime bill was a “mistake,” though he went on to provide reasoning that was anything but clear, as reported by Breitbart.
“The same time for the same crime”
The former senator has faced widespread criticism from progressives in his own party for backing a bill they say exacerbated police mistreatment of minorities and led to a spike in incarceration rates across the U.S.
When asked whether his sponsorship was a mistake, Biden confirmed that it was.
“But here’s where the mistake came,” he continued. “The mistake came in terms of what the states did locally.”
Going on to defend the federal approach to the same bill, he claimed that “it was all about the same time for the same crime” as far as he was concerned.
Biden went on to cite “some really brilliant lawyers” who worked alongside him during the drafting of the bill and conducted research to determine “what happens for the first, second, third offense for any crime in the criminal justice system at the federal level.”
“Community policing, not jump squads”
From there, he claimed the data was used to ensure that typical sentences for comparable crimes were similar across racial lines.
“Every single solitary maximum was reduced in there, but what happened was, it became then, same time for the same crime,” Biden repeated.
Despite his contention that “black folks went to jail a lot less than they would have before” because of the passage of the 1994 bill, he conceded that “it was a mistake.”
Further distancing himself from those on the far left who advocate defunding or dismantling police departments across the nation, Biden told Stephanopoulos that he still believes “more cops clearly mean less crime” — provided they are “involved in community policing, not jump squads.”
While Biden did face a few other pointed questions about his previous and current policy positions, the tough approach of NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie toward Trump during the other town hall left political commentator Tim Pool with the reinforced belief that the “media is broken, the media is biased, the election system is broken and the election system is biased.”