Obama Says ‘Defund the Police’ Alienates Voters

Former President Barack Obama has received some backlash from progressive Democrats for comments shared during a recent interview to promote his new memoir, A Promised Land. A clip of the former president, suggesting that “defund the police” are “snappy” slogans that alienate voters and make it more difficult to enact change, has gone viral. 

“You [lose] a big audience the minute” a slogan like “defund the police” is used, making it “a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want to done,” Obama said on Tuesday (Dec. 2) in an interview with Peter Hamby, host of the Snapchat political show “Good Luck America.”

“Defund the police” refers to the reallocation or redirection of government funding from police departments to social services for minority communities. 

Ben LaBolt, Obama’s former press secretary and communications strategist, shared part of Obama’s chat with Hamby on Twitter for further context.

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An excerpt of the transcript outlines what Obama proposed as an alternative approach, “If you instead say, Hey, you know what? Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s being treated fairly.”  He later continued: “The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?” 

Obama’s use of the word “slogan” drew criticism on Twitter from Cori Bush, who made history in November as the first Black woman elected to represent Missouri in Congress, Rep. IIhan Omar of Minnesota and Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker.

See their responses below: 

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