Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., ducked questions Monday about whether she favors defunding police forces.
Harris appeared on ABC’s “The View” Monday, the same day she appeared alongside other Democratic leaders in unveiling a sweeping police reform bill.
In recent days, some Democrats have called to defund — or in some instances totally disband — police departments. Republicans have vehemently pushed back against the notion. Conservative co-host Meghan McCain asked Harris point blank where she stands on the issue.
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“Are you for defunding the police?” McCain asked.
“How are you defining ‘defund the police?’” Harris replied.
McCain said she understood this to mean “removing the police,” referencing Rep. Ilhan Omar, who supports disbanding the Minneapolis Police Department and has called for “reimagining policing.”
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Harris did not give a yes or no answer, but said that “we need to reimagine public safety in America,” and stated that there is a discussion to be had about prioritizing community funding.
“[T]o have cities where one-third of their entire budget is going to police, but yet there is a dire need in those same cities for mental health resources, for resources going into public schools, for resources going into job training and job creation? Come on,” she said. “We have to be honest about this that there’s actually not a consensus around this because if there were we would actually see smarter distribution of resources in our country to address the issues that need to be addressed.”
Co-host Sunny Hostin then pointed out that defunding police is different from disbanding the police, and refers to reallocating money that currently goes to the police and placing it elsewhere with the goal of serving the community. Harris did not have an opportunity to answer within that context, as Hostin immediately asked Harris if Joe Biden must now select a black woman as his running mate in order to “energize the base” and show commitment to African-Americans.
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Hostin demanded a yes or no answer, but Harris could not provide one.
“It’s not that simple,” she said. “I just want him to win.”