House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks on ABC’s “This Week” on February 13, 2022.
- Speaker Pelosi on Sunday stressed that defunding the police was not a Democratic Party position.
- Pelosi rejected the phrase, reiterating that the party would continue to seek policing reforms.
- “Make no mistake, community safety is our responsibility,” she said on ABC’s “This Week.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday stressed that concept of defunding the police — which became a prominent rallying cry among many activists after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 — is not the position of the Democratic Party.
The California Democrat — who is leading the charge to keep the lower chamber in Democratic hands in the face of difficult midterm election headwinds this November — said during an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that the party prioritized public safety while also seeking significant criminal justice reforms.
“Make no mistake, community safety is our responsibility,” Pelosi told host George Stephanopoulos. “I quote one my colleagues from New York, [Rep.] Ritchie Torres, brand new member of Congress, way on the left, saying that defund the police is dead.”
She added: “That causes a concern with a few in our caucus.”
Earlier this month, Torres — a former New York City councilman who represents a Bronx-based congressional district — slammed lawmakers who have continued to push for the defunding of police departments in the face of crime spikes in many large American cities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The defund police movement is dead in NYC and good riddance,” the congressman said in an MSNBC interview. “Any elected official who’s advocating the abolition or even defunding of police … should not be taken seriously.”
Torres also expressed support for efforts by New York City Mayor Eric Adams to stem the flow of illegal guns into the city.
However, another freshman Democrat, progressive Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, recently told Axios that she would not stop using the slogan.
The congresswoman said that she has been asked by several colleagues to refrain from using the phrase, but dismissed the opinion of Democratic lawmakers who have blamed unexpected House losses in 2020 on the slogan.
“I always tell [fellow Democrats], ‘If you all had fixed this before I got here, I wouldn’t have to say these things,'” she told the news outlet.
In 2020, Democrats were hammered by Republicans over claims that the party wanted to defund police departments — with the GOP seeking to use the attack again for the midterm elections — but President Joe Biden has sought to reject that notion and has repeatedly stressed his longstanding support for law enforcement, dating back to his decades of service in the US Senate.
During her interview on “This Week,” Pelosi pushed back at Bush’s “defund the police” stance.
“Well, with all the respect in the world for Cori Bush, that is not the position of the Democratic Party,” she told Stephanopoulos. “Community safety, to protect and defend in every way, is our oath of office.”
She added: “We’re all concerned about mistreatment of people. And that’s why [Rep.] Karen Bass had the Justice and Policing Act. And we would hope to get some of that done, whether it’s no-knock, chokehold, or some of those issues, even if we can’t get it all done.”
Bass, a California Democrat who once served as speaker of the State Assembly, is currently running for Los Angeles mayor on a platform calling for more law enforcement officials, especially detectives and investigators.
While she was also a highly respected voice on a bipartisan congressional panel seeking to overhaul the nation’s policing laws, the talks ultimately fell apart.