Biden on Defunding Police

Joe Biden
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A private Zoom meeting on December 8, 2020 attended by Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and numerous civil rights leader including Eric Johnson, President of the NAACP, Vanita Gupta, former ACLU attorney and Obama’s civil rights division head, the Reverend Al Sharton, Sherrilyn Ifill, Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Melanie Campbell, President of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, and former Congressman Cedric Richmond, named as Assistant to the President by Joe Biden. Joe Biden was urged to take action through executive orders. Biden was unenthusiastic about executive action and warned against police reform before Georgia’s Senate runoffs.

Full Zoom Meeting From The Intercept

So there’s some things that I’m going to be able to do by executive order. I’m not going to hesitate to do it, but what I’m not going to do is I’m not going to do what used to — Vanita [Gupta], you probably used to get angry with me during the debates, when you’d have some of the people you were supporting saying, ‘On Day 1, I’m gonna have an executive order to do this!’ Not within the constitutional authority. I am not going to violate the Constitution. Executive authority that my progressive friends talk about is way beyond the bounds. And as one of you said, maybe it was you, Reverend Al [Sharpton], whether it’s far left or far right, there is a Constitution. It’s our only hope. 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. We do that, next guy comes along and says, Well, guess what? By executive order, I guess everybody can have machine guns again. So we gotta be careful.

“But 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. Just think to yourself and give me advice, whether we should do that before January 5th, because 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. I just raise it with you to think about how much do we push between now and January 5th — we need those two seats — about police reform. But I guarantee you, there will be a full-blown commission. I guarantee you it’s a major, major, major element, and as Revered Al said, I was a pain in the ass to everybody accept him when we did the commission before. I didn’t think we went far enough. We can go very far. It matters how we do it.”

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