In response to growing calls for defunding and dismantling police agencies across the nation, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign has refused to endorse such proposals.
While the former vice president has exhibited an interest in hearing the concerns of those protesting in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis late last month, a campaign spokesperson clarified Biden’s stance in a statement on Monday.
“Conditioning federal aid”
“No, I don’t support defunding the police,” Biden said in an interview with CBS. “I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness.”
His remark echoed a statement from campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates, who referenced Biden’s “criminal justice proposal made clear months ago” in offering an alternative to defunding law enforcement agencies.
“He hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change, and is driven to ensure that justice is done and that we put a stop to this terrible pain,” Bates added.
Biden has sought to moderate his position on crime after a lengthy tenure in the U.S. Senate that included votes some Democrats now see as insufficiently progressive. Most notably, he worked to pass a crime bill in 1994 that many critics have linked to a spike in incarceration among black Americans.
His latest position, however, seems to share some underlying principles with President Donald Trump’s stance.
“Jobs that are record-setting”
“There won’t be defunding, there won’t be dismantling of our police and there is not going to be any disbanding of our police,” Trump said at a White House roundtable this week.
He noted that there are “bad actors” who need to be removed from police forces, but asserted that “99% of them are great, great people, and they’ve done jobs that are record-setting.”
Trump has also taken aim at Democrats who have shown support for defunding agencies — including a vote by the Minneapolis city council to dismantle that city’s police department.
Biden might still have the overwhelming support of his party, but he appears to be in a no-win position between its moderate and far-left wings.
The president, on the other hand, has established a “law and order” stance that could give voters a clear choice on Election Day.