Rep. Bush not backing down on 'defund the police,' says Congress inaction has ‘cost lives’

Rep. Cori Bush slammed for defense of private security

Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram reports on how the defund the police movement has divided Democrats.

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., indicated Sunday that she isn’t backing down from her “defund the police” message, even if it hurts Democrats politically. 

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” anchor Dana Bash asked Bush to weigh in on the backlash she’s received since she said on CBS News last week that “defunding the police has to happen” so people should “suck it up.”

“Could those comments end up being hurtful to your fellow Democrats, politically speaking?” Bash asked the congresswoman.

Bush responded, “I think what we have to look at is the fact that I made it to Congress in 2020, and we’re still fighting this same fight. We’re still fighting to save Black lives. That work was not done before I got here.”

“Because that was not fixed before I got here, to then come at me and say, ‘You’re the reason we have these problems.’ No, the reason why we have these problems is because those that were in power and could have fixed this problem before now didn’t and it cost lives,” she continued. 

The White House has repeatedly tried to distance itself from Bush’s “defund the police” message, with press secretary Jen Psaki declaring last week that the “majority of Democrats” disagree with her.

Bush said she empathizes with the moderate Democrats who may be irritated by her message but said they should try to work with her like “Republicans would do.”

“As far as my colleagues, I absolutely empathize,” she said. “I empathize, but you know what? The same thing that the Republicans would do which is figure out how to work with this on a comms basis, that’s what we have to do. My job is to save lives.”

“Because when we’re talking about every single year increasing the budget for police and then the budget for, like, health and human services continuing to shrink and St. Louis being number one for police violence year after year after year,” she said. “We’re adding more money to police, but we keep dying.”

“We have to tackle it from more than one place,” she added. “We have to work on what we want to say. What is our message? But then we also have to understand that we have to save lives, too.”

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