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Fox News’s Chris Wallace accuses Republicans of being the party that is defunding the police

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“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace pushed Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Jim Banks on the Democratic issue of defunding police departments, suggesting that the Indiana lawmaker’s party was actually responsible for cutting funds to law enforcement.

During a segment on rising crime in U.S. cities, Banks appeared after former Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), now a senior adviser to President Joe Biden, who blamed Republicans for “defunding” police by failing to support what amounted to a $350 billion bailout for poorly-run blue cities that suffered additional economic distress during the COVID-19 pandemic due to extensive, prolonged shutdowns.

Richmond pushed back on a claim made by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that a “five-point plan” offered by Biden would do nothing to reduce crime, adding that Republicans wouldn’t sign onto “an emergency relief plan for cities that were cash-strapped and laying off police and firefighters” that “allowed state and local governments to replenish their police departments and do the other things that are needed.”

Asked to respond, Banks laid the blame for rising crime rates squarely on Democrats on the national level who have called for defunding police as well as blue city leaders, like those in Minneapolis and New York City, who have actually cut police department funding.

(Video: Fox News)

In addition, the Indiana Republican said Democratic “demonizing” of police, generally, as well as Democrat policies that include getting rid of cash bail, have led to demoralization of police officers which, in turn, has led to dramatic increases in resignations and retirements, making it difficult for cities to replenish police ranks.

“Well, Chris, first of all, I agree with Joe Biden. Senator Biden in 2002 wrote an op-ed, and he said more cops clearly means less crime. You will not hear Joe Biden say that today because today Joe Biden is being held hostage in the White House by ‘the Squad’ and the radicals in the Democrat Party who control their party, who have spent the last year stigmatizing one of the most honorable professions in America in our law enforcement,” Banks said.

He went on to explain that Democrats have not only called for defunding police but also eliminated a concept known as “qualified immunity,” which protects officers from lawsuits and other legal actions they take in the normal course of performing their jobs.

In addition, Banks said Democrats support “cashless bail,” decreasing sentencing of even violent criminals, and ending prosecutions of some crimes — all of which have led to “unprecedented” increases in criminal behavior and violence.

“Murder rates this year alone … are higher than anything that we’ve seen before because we’ve taken police officers off the streets,” Banks continued, “and now Joe Biden wants to take guns away from law-abiding gun owners who have guns to protect themselves.”

Wallace responded with Democratic arguments, namely that the $350 billion package passed as part of COVID relief is “the central part of” Biden’s “anti-crime package” before playing a clip of the president saying the money “means more police officers, more nurses, more counselors, more social workers, more community violence interrupters, to help resolve issues before they escalate into crimes.”

“Congressman Banks, you voted against that package, against that $350 billion just like every other Republican in the House and Senate,” said Wallace. “So can’t you make the argument that it’s you and the Republicans who are defunding the police?”

Banks attempted to respond that Democrats attacked police repeatedly over at least the past year before Wallace cut him off and reiterated the talking point.

“Respectfully, I’ve heard your point about the last year, but you and every other Republican voted against this $350 billion,” Wallace said.

Banks, however, stuck to his point, noting that regardless what the president is saying now, Democrats have made conditions nearly impossible for cities to even hire new officers based on the party’s rhetoric alone.

“When Representative [Ilhan] Omar [D-Minn.] says that policing is rooted in evil and [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.] compares police officers to Nazi stormtroopers, it makes it very difficult for police departments around the country to recruit people to become police officers,” Banks said.

“And that’s the crisis that we find in police departments all over America. You can give them more funding and that’s good. But if they can’t recruit people to become a police officer because we’ve stigmatized one of the most honorable professions in America, then we’re at a dangerous point,” he added.

“That’s related to the rise in violent crime. If we turn a blind eye to law and order and a blind eye to riots and we take police officers off the street we’re going to see crime rise,” Banks said.

Jon Dougherty

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