President Donald Trump characterized calls to “defund the police” as a “fad” on Friday, suggesting it won’t happen.
Trump’s remarks came at an unrelated event at the U.S. Defense Department’s Southern Command in Doral, Florida, a day after a Pew Research poll showed 73% supported the idea of keeping the funding of law enforcement at current levels or increasing it. Thirty-one percent wanted it increased.
“We will never, ever defund our police. OK? That I can tell you. We are not defunding police,” Trump said. “What's going on here, admiral, when you hear ‘defund the police,’ you are probably saying it's a foreign language, right? So, just a terrible thing, but I assume this is going to be a fad. We’ll call it a fad.”
The call to “defund the police” has grown out of protests and riots following the death of a Black man, George Floyd, in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. The exact definition of “defund the police” has varied.
While cities like New York City have cut the police budget by more than $800 million, the Minneapolis City Council on June 26 voted unanimously to “disband” the department.
Minneapolis’ effort still faces several bureaucratic steps before the proposal can be placed on the November ballot to change the city charter.
A spokesman for Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in the fall election, Joe Biden, has said the former vice president “does not believe that police should be defunded.”
However, on Wednesday, in an interview with activist Ady Barkan, Biden said funding should “absolutely” be directed away from police.
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