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Cori Bush says she won’t stop saying ‘defund the police’ despite pressure from other Democrats

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) listens to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) prior to an enrollment ceremony for the VOCA Fix to Sustain the Crime Victims Fund Act on Wednesday, July 21, 2021.
Greg Nash

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said this week that she stands behind the slogan “defund the police” even though members of her party have asked her not to use the phrase.

“I always tell [fellow Democrats], ‘If you all had fixed this before I got here, I wouldn’t have to say these things,'” Bush told a group of Black reporters during an hourlong conversation, according to Axios.

Many of Bush’s colleagues have blamed the use of the slogan for Democratic political losses. They also fear the phrase will be used against them in the midterm elections.

Bush said that if Democrats lose the House majority in November, it will be because the party failed to pass key legislation. 

“‘Defund the police’ is not the problem,” she said, Axios reported. “We dangled the carrot in front of people’s faces and said we can get it done and that Democrats deliver, when we haven’t totally delivered.”

“If [Republicans] take the majority, it’s just done as far as trying to get the legislation across,” she added.

She also said that her party members should work harder to explain the meaning behind the slogan.

Defund the police is intended to divert funds from police departments and toward social services.

Another reason the White House and a number of Democrats have shunned the phrase is because of rising crime in the United States, which Republicans have sought to blame on calls to defund the police. 

The GOP has signaled it intends to use rising crime statistics against Democrats in the coming campaign.

Bush in the hourlong discussion said lawmakers should be working to bring an end to procedures that have caused Black people harm, such as no-knock warrants and chokeholds, according to Axios.

She also pushed back on suggestions from some Congressional Black Caucus members that the party focus on passing pieces of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act amid a stalemate over the bill.

“If we couldn’t get George Floyd done back when millions of people were marching in the street, then how do we expect to get more than one thing done [on policing] over the next few years?” the lawmaker said.

Tags Cori Bush defund the police defund the police movement
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