You have to give Jen Psaki credit: her Doublespeak could make even George Orwell himself blush.
Even the Washington Post had to call her out this week for comments she made accusing Republicans of wanting to defund police; the outlet gave her and another top Biden aide three Pinocchios for their comments, which show the unpopularity of defunding police with the public.
Both Psaki and senior Biden advisor Cedric Richmond tried to advance the logic last week that Republicans were defunding the police by not supporting Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, which included $350 billion for state and local government aid, some of which could have gone to police.
Richmond said in a June 27 Fox News interview that Republicans’ opposition to COVID relief bills amounted to defunding the police. “Republicans are very good at staying on talking points of who says defund the police,” he said. “But the truth is, they defunded the police. We funded crime intervention and a whole bunch of other things.”
Pskai doubles down
Psaki was asked about his comments the next day and defended them, saying, “Well, the president did mention that the American Rescue Plan, the state and local funding, something that was supported by the president, a lot of Democrats who supported and voted for the bill, could help ensure local cops were kept on the beat in communities across the country. As you know, [it] didn’t receive a single Republican vote. That funding has been used to keep cops on the beat.”
On Wednesday, she doubled down on her earlier comments.
“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,” Psaki told Fox News. “There’s a record of that, that doesn’t require anyone having new comments.”
Republicans “stood in the way of crucial funding needed to prevent the laying off of police officers as crimes increased,” Psaki added.
She was unable to name any Republican who agrees with defunding the police or who voted against Biden’s COVID relief because of it, however.
Post: “No one voted to cut or defund anything”
“Although Republicans all opposed Biden’s coronavirus relief package, no one voted to cut, or defund, anything. Rather, Democrats proposed $350 billion in emergency funds for state and local governments, and Republicans voted against those extra funds. That’s not a reduction,” the Post’s Glenn Kessler wrote.
“[G]oing strictly by the bill text, lawmakers had no guarantee that police would get a slice of the pie,” he wrote. “What’s more, voting against a one-time infusion of cash is not the same as voting to cut funding, so there is little basis to claim that Republicans are trying to ‘defund the police.'”
It was a rare moment when Republican lawmakers agreed with the Post, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) reacted to Psaki’s comments by saying, “That’s like an arsonist showing up at the fire and blaming the fireman.”