‘They’re lying’: Biden hits back at Republicans for claiming he is anti-police

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Joe Biden waves as he participates in a CNN Town Hall hosted by Don Lemon at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 21, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)
Joe Biden waves as he participates in a CNN Town Hall hosted by Don Lemon at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 21, 2021. (AFP via Getty Images)

President Joe Biden hit back at Republicans who claimed he and the Democratic Party are anti-police and want to defund departments across the country.

During a CNN town hall on Wednesday, moderator Don Lemon asked Mr Biden: “How do you respond to Republicans who try to paint you, and your party, as anti-police?”

“They're lying,” Mr Biden said, prompting cheers from the audience.

Expanding on the issue, Mr Biden said that “we have to change police conduct ... We have to have rules where you can be able to determine ... how many times a cop has violated the rules, and be able to have access to what’s going on, in police departments, so the Justice Department can get involved in whether or not they have to change the pattern and practices. I’ve always said that”.

Following the murder of George Floyd by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020, some protesters and activists called for “defunding” the police.

Some argued for using parts of police budgets to hire more social workers and using funds for other purposes, while others have gone a step further and argued that police departments should be disbanded altogether.

Republicans have been trying to use this as a way to paint Democrats, including Mr Biden, as anti-police.

Mr Biden said on Wednesday that he had “never” argued for defunding the police.

“I don’t know any community, particularly the communities that are in the most need, and the poorest, and the most at risk, that don’t want police. They want police though, to look at them as equals,” Mr Biden told the audience in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“They don’t want police abuses,” the president added.

“If police aren’t doing their job, they should be held accountable. They should be fired for not doing their job,” Mr Biden said.

“We’ve actually cut down on [the] number of police, unrelated to anybody asking for it.

“The towns and cities aren’t spending as much money on it. There’s not as much federal money to hire police. And now, what’s happening is police are not wanting to be a cop,” the president added.

“So, what we got to do is we’ve got to give them the help they need to be better at their job,” he said.

Mr Biden acknowledged that sending police officers to deal with individuals with mental health difficulties might not always be the best course of action.

“The idea that you have someone sitting on a ledge saying, they’re going to jump off a ledge, and you call the cop, and sending a guy or a woman who’s a law enforcement officer, has a criminal justice degree, when you could send with him, or her, you could send with them, a psychologist, or a social worker, or somebody [that] can talk to them,” Mr Biden said.

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