- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 7, 2020

President Trump and his administration on Sunday dismissed growing calls from activists and Democrats to defund the police in the wake of George Floyd’s death, saying law enforcement is key to public safety and that police departments need updated training and oversight.

“Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to “DEFUND THE POLICE”. I want great and well paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!” Mr. Trump tweeted Sunday.

He added, “Not only will Sleepy Joe Biden DEFUND THE POLICE, but he will DEFUND OUR MILITARY! He has no choice, the Dems are controlled by the Radical Left.”

Pulling funding and dismantling police departments has become a rallying cry for protesters and even members of Congress, who are angered over the killing of Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer in Minneapolis over Memorial Day weekend.

Members of the president’s administration pushed back against the idea of defunding police on several Sunday news shows.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson told CNN it would lead to chaos and people taking justice into their own hands.

“You want to abolish police departments. Are you kidding me?” he sarcastically said on Sunday’s “State of the Union.”

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf told Fox News that defunding police is “absurd,” noting the agencies need the right training, oversight, and leadership.

“You don’t do that by slashing budgets. It makes no sense to me. I think it is a very political statement to make but it does not protect our communities at the end of the day,” he told Fox News Sunday.

The responses come after progressive Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar took to Twitter Friday to bash the city’s police, saying law enforcement should be reimagined.

“The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform. It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis,” she said.

But Rep. Karen Bass, California Democrat, separated herself from Ms. Omar on Sunday, telling CNN as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus she will be introducing a bill that would address problems with policing in America, requiring more accountability.

“It is time for police culture in many departments to change and we believe the legislation will make a major step forward,” she said.

Ms. Bass, though, pushed back against the call for disbanding and defunding police departments.

“Part of the movement around defunding is about how we spend resources in our country,” she told CNN on Sunday, saying more money should be spent in communities to address problems potentially through community-based organizations.

“Maybe this is an opportunity to re-envision public safety,” she added.

• Alex Swoyer can be reached at aswoyer@washingtontimes.com.

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