- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Former President Barack Obama said in a new interview that the “Defund the Police” mantra embraced by many on the left earlier this year instantly turns off a good portion of the population.

“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like ‘Defund the Police,’” Mr. Obama said on Snapchat’s “Good Luck America” in a clip of an interview released on Wednesday.

“But you know you’ve lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” he said.

He said people need to ask whether they want to get something done or whether they want to feel good among people they already agree with.

“If you instead say, let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s being treated fairly — divert young people from getting into crime, and if [there’s] a homeless guy, can maybe we send a mental health worker there instead of an armed unit that could end up resulting in a tragedy?” he said. “Suddenly a whole bunch of folks who might not otherwise listen to you are listening to you.”

Some moderate Democrats have blamed the “Defund the Police” slogan for diminishing the chances of Democratic candidates in down-ballot races this year.

But several liberal soon-to-be House members didn’t appear to appreciate Mr. Obama’s comments.

Rep.-elect Cori Bush of Missouri pointed out that Black people, including Michael Brown and Breonna Taylor, are losing their lives to “police violence.”

“It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police,” Ms. Bush said on Twitter.

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