In leaked audio that surfaced Thursday of a virtual meeting with a group of civil rights leaders, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden reportedly said that progressives’ calls to defund the police may have been the cause of the Democrats’ crushing defeat in many House races during the November election.
According to Biden, the defund the police narrative allowed the GOP to “beat the living hell” out of Democrats during the 2020 election cycle. The virtual meeting that the audio came from was attended by Senator Kamala Harris, and “civil rights leaders” like NAACP President Derrick Johnson and Reverend Al Sharpton.
Biden, obviously worried about Democrats’ ability to retake the Senate, told the civil rights leaders that public calls for police reform should be avoided ahead of the Senate runoff elections in Georgia. These two elections will determine which party controls the Senate, as Republicans hold 50 seats to the Democrats’ 48. If Democrats win both seats, the vice president will have to be the tie breaker.
“I also don’t think we should get too far ahead ourselves on dealing with police reform in that, because they’ve already labeled us as being ‘defund the police’ anything we put forward in terms of the organizational structure to change policing – which I promise you, will occur. Promise you,” Biden said in the leaked audio originally obtained by The Intercept.
“That’s how they beat the living hell out of us across the country, saying that we’re talking about defunding the police. We’re not. We’re talking about holding them accountable. We’re talking about giving them money to do the right things. We’re talking about putting more psychologists and psychiatrists on the telephones when the 911 calls through. We’re talking about spending money to enable them to do their jobs better, not with more force, with less force and more understanding,” Biden continued.
Democrats have now become worried about their progressive base, as is evident by former President Barack Obama‘s recent comments about defunding the police. According to Obama, calls to defund the police have allowed Republicans to portray Democrats as radicals.
Joe Biden is falling back on a common Democrat tactic, keeping your true views and policy proposals hidden during elections in order to garner votes from moderate Democrats and Independents. In the leaked audio, Biden told the meeting attendees “to think about how much do we push between now and Jan. 5” regarding police reform. At the same time, he pledged to create a “full-blown commission” to examine the issue.
Attempting to do damage control, a Biden transition team official released a statement responding to the leaked recording. “President-elect Biden is the same person behind closed doors that he is public; honest, direct and realistic about the challenges facing our nation the day he is sworn in. As he made clear throughout the campaign, he believes in supporting bold and urgent reform to our criminal justice system while continuing to support law enforcement’s mission to keep our communities safe,” the statement read.
Biden also pledged to use executive orders to undo President Trump‘s policies, but claimed he wouldn’t use them for his radical anti-Second Amendment policies. “Our only hope and the way to deal with it is, where I have executive authority, I will use it to undo every single damn thing this guy has done by executive authority, but I’m not going to exercise executive authority where it’s a question, where I can come along and say, ‘I can do away with assault weapons.’ There’s no executive authority to do away that. And no one has fought harder to get rid of assault weapons than me, me, but you can’t do it by executive order” the former vice president said.