The Republican attorneys general in five states on Monday urged President Biden to withdraw the nomination of Vanita Gupta for the No. 3 position at the Justice Department, saying her controversial statements about policing would damage the department’s relationship with local law enforcement.
Ms. Gupta has come under fire for saying last year that she wants to shift resources to other priorities rather than hire more police.
Her opponents, including the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, say that’s evidence she supports defunding the police.
“Ms. Gupta has a history of making radical statements that do not support providing law enforcement with the resources needed to succeed,” the attorneys general wrote in a letter to Mr. Biden.
The letter was signed by Todd Rokita of Indiana, Leslie Rutledge of Arkansas, Jeff Landry of Louisiana, Mike Hunter of Oklahoma and Ken Paxton of Texas.
If Ms. Gupta is confirmed, the attorneys general said, it will impact the Justice Department’s relationship with local law enforcement, ultimately putting public safety at risk.
“Respectfully, with Ms. Gupta’s recent public, adverse statements toward police, putting her in such a senior position would seriously damage that relationship,” they wrote of the link between state and federal law enforcement.
“Now more than ever, the public ought to be fully confident and reassured that the relationship between the federal government and local law enforcement exudes mutual cooperation and respect,” the letter continued.
Despite the opposition from conservative organizations, the National Fraternal Order of Police — a group that twice endorsed President Trump — has come to her defense.
“Vanita Gupta has always worked with us to find common ground even when that seemed impossible,” the nation’s largest police group wrote in a statement.
Ms. Gupta previously worked in former President Barack Obama’s Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union.
A Senate Judiciary Hearing committee on Ms. Gupta’s nomination is scheduled for next week.