President Donald Trump pounced on the news that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden is losing support from the nation’s police.
Biden has sided decisively with the mobs calling for sweeping reforms to policing in the wake of the death of George Floyd — and it’s alienating police unions, according to an article from Politico that Trump shared in a tweet Thursday.
Biden losing police support
America’s cities have seen widespread violence after Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by Minneapolis cops. Violent clashes have played out between rioters and cops all across the country, leading to cops getting run over, shot, and in some instances, killed.
Shedding a past reputation for being tough on crime, Biden has sought to present himself as a “healer” who can unify the country and help rid police departments of “systemic racism” — and it’s costing him support from cops who used to like him.
In a speech Tuesday, Biden condemned America as a racist country, vowed to establish a national police oversight commission in his first 100 days, and called for legislation to reform policing, such as by banning chokeholds, according to U.S. News & World Report.
In response, Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, the umbrella group for Police Benevolent Association chapters, told Politico that the former vice president’s primary season pandering “kept moving left and fell off the deep end.” The break is significant: the group supported former President Barack Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012 because of Biden, but no longer.
“For Joe Biden, police are shaking their heads because he used to be a stand-up guy who backed law enforcement,” Johnson said, according to Politico. “But it seems in his old age, for whatever reason, he’s writing a sad final chapter when it comes to supporting law enforcement.”
Trump campaign pounces
While President Trump has also said that more must be done to rid policing of putative racism, his rhetoric has focused overall on “law and order,” while highlighting demands from some progressives to defund police departments altogether. Trump shared the Politico article on Twitter on Thursday, contrasting his approach with that of Biden’s “handlers,” who he said want to “defund the police.”
“Police Groups Break With Biden” @politico His handlers want him to “Defund the Police.” I want more money for Law Enforcement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2020
The Trump campaign meanwhile slammed Biden for remaining silent on “attacks by rioters and looters, sometimes fatal, on police officers in the line of duty protecting innocent Americans,” as Fox News reported.
As a senator, Biden played a prominent role in crafting legislation like the 1994 crime bill, which progressives — and on occasion, Trump — have blamed for the mass incarceration of blacks, Fox notes.
Jim Pasco, who worked with Biden on the 1994 bill and is the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, told Politico that Biden used to be seen as tough on crime but that he shifted over time, to the point “where he would not be considered a law-and-order guy in the sense that law enforcement sees it,” while cops have moved politically to the right.
Maybe it’s time for Joe Biden to fire the people telling him what to say.