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Scarborough, DCCC chairman have heated exchange over 2022 strategy

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Friday got into a heated exchange over Democratic messaging ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

In an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Maloney, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was pressed by Scarborough repeatedly about Democratic messaging on the issue of defunding the police in 2020, to which Maloney said the party was committed to fighting racial injustice.

"My argument is what are you doing about racial justice?" Maloney asked. "Our party is going to do something about it."

Scarborough pushed back.

"It's not the question that I'm asking, it's the question that Republicans will continue to ask, do Democrats support defunding the police?" Scarborough asked.

Maloney responded by saying the host was "repeating Republican talking points."

"The answer is no," Maloney responded. "And you are asking the question and you're repeating a Republican talking point for reasons I don't know."

Scarborough then interjected, hitting Democrats for their messaging in 2020. 

"I'll tell you why I'm repeating it: because you all did such a damn poor job of answering that, such a poor job of answering socialism questions, such a poor job of answering cancel culture questions," Scarborough said, raising his voice.

"That's why I'm repeating it, because if you believe [House Republican Leader] Kevin McCarthy should be Speaker of the House, keep pretending that none of that happened, and keep saying that the House did a good job in 2020 because they did not, House Democrats did a poor job. So my question is, are you going into 2022 with eyes wide open?"

Maloney responded by saying the party still holds the leadership and can "learn" from 2020.

"The answer to the question is that Kevin McCarthy is the minority leader and we hold the gavels, Joe," Maloney responded after more back and forth.

"Can we learn from 2020? You bet. You didn't hear me say everything went well, what I told you is I'm not going to run the other way because on shows like this you insist on repeating these Republican talking points when you know it's a lie that we want to defund the police. Look at the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act." 

"If you're point is that we need to communicate better, well fair enough. But do me a favor, please also acknowledge that when you echo and amplify these talking points of the Republican Party, you give them life," Maloney added.

Scarborough said, "I don't need that reminder."

The exchange comes amid former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial in the death of George Floyd, along with the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright at a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minn. 

Republicans have resurfaced accusations that Democrats want to defund the police, while Democrats have had to deal with interparty bickering on the issue. 

Maloney said in February that Republicans misrepresented Democratic views on defunding the police and socialism, saying that the attacks could have played a role in the party's losses in the House.

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