MSNBC host, CNN pundit add to Obama dog-pile over ‘defund the police’ comments
Democrats are having a difficult time with the ‘defund the police’ slogan. It has created infighting between Democratic politicians, activists, and members of the mainstream media. That includes leftists such as MSNBC’s Joy Reid and CNN’s Angela Rye who took exception with Obama speaking out against the ‘defund the police’ movement.
Some Democrats paint the slogan as if it’s not intended to take money away from the police. Others absolutely portray it as taking funds away from those tasked with protecting us. Either way, it is unpopular with voters and Obama sees that.
Former President Barack Obama argued this week that political candidates turn voters away when they use “snappy” slogans such as “defund the police.” He made the comments during an interview with Peter Hamby on the Snapchat original political show “Good Luck America” that aired Wednesday morning.
“You 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,” Obama stated. “The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?”
Those Democrats who are more progressive were angered by that statement.
MSNBC’s far-left anchor Joy Reid took issue with Obama’s criticism of the “defund the police” slogan Wednesday on her show.
“I gently disagree with President Obama. I don’t think anybody who disagrees with ‘defund the police’ was ever going to vote for any Democrat anyway, so I think it energized a lot of young voters,” Reid put forth.
Political pundit Angela Rye was blunter when she told CNN’s Don Lemon that she “doesn’t care” if the slogan turns voters away.
“I think it’s a conversation that needs to be had,” Rye argued. “I think the moment that we begin to ask politicians to account for and to opine on rhetoric of the activists’ community is the moment that we walk into real trouble.”
Lemon defended Obama and told Rye the slogan “is not a winning strategy.”
“I know you said you don’t care, but as an activist shouldn’t you care? Because that slogan lost seats,” Lemon asked Rye.
Rye fired back, “It actually didn’t.”
This led to an argument between the two CNN pundits on whether or not the “defund the police” slogan actually hurt Democrats, who held a 35-seat advantage in the House before the election. The party will see its majority shrink by at least nine seats, making it one of the thinnest margins in decades, following a better-than-expected performance by down-ballot Republicans.
“With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence,” tweeted Rep.-elect Cori Bush (D-MO), a Black Lives Matter activist and nurse who rose to prominence earlier this year when she defeated longtime Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO) in the Democratic House primary for Missouri’s 1st District.
“It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police,” Bush added.
With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.
It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020
Congressman-elect Jamaal Bowman, who beat out 16-term incumbent Rep. Eliot Engel for New York’s 16th Congressional District, also weighed in.
“Damn, Mr. President. Didn’t you say ‘Trayvon could’ve been my son?’” Bowman tweeted. “In 2014, #BlackLivesMatter was too much. In 2016, Kaepernick was too much. Today, discussing police budgets is too much. The problem is America’s comfort with Black death — not discomfort with slogans.”
Sunny Hostin of “The View” also laid into Obama on Wednesday over his comments concerning the “defund the police” movement, saying the former community organizer should know better.
“You know, I’m always loathe to criticize President Obama because I’m such a fan, but I do think he’s wrong here,” Hostin arrogantly stated.
Then the “Squad” chimed in.
“We lose people in the hands of police,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) shot back. “It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety.”
We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020
“Rosa Parks was vilified & attacked for her civil disobedience. She was targeted. It’s hard seeing the same people who uplift her courage, attack the movement for Black lives that want us to prioritize health, funding of schools & ending poverty, rather than racist police systems,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) stated.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) said she’s “out of patience” with criticism of the language that activists used.
“The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific,” she tweeted. “Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists. Whatever a grieving family says is their truth. And I’ll never stop fighting for their justice & healing.”
The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific. Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists.
Whatever a grieving family says is their truth.
And I’ll never stop fighting for their justice & healing.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) December 2, 2020
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) stated it wasn’t until activists “said ‘defund’ that comfortable people started paying [attention] to brutality.”
“The thing that critics of activists don’t get is that they tried playing the ‘polite language’ policy game and all it did was make them easier to ignore. It wasn’t until they made folks uncomfortable that there was traction to do ANYTHING even if it wasn’t their full demands,” the New York Democrat wrote.
“The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable. Activists take that discomfort w/ the status quo & advocate for concrete policy changes,” she continued. “Popular support often starts small & grows.”
“To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable … that’s the point,” she added.
What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020
The whole point of protesting is to make ppl uncomfortable.
Activists take that discomfort w/ the status quo & advocate for concrete policy changes. Popular support often starts small & grows.
To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable… that’s the point.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020
It is fair to say that many of those that favor ‘defund the police’ are largely wealthy media members and government officials who can afford their own private security. “Defund the police” gained momentum after the death of George Floyd in May. Cities around the country, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland, have already reallocated funding from their police department budgets to other agencies while simultaneously laying off police officers. As a result, crime has skyrocketed in those cities.