This article is part of our Trump vs. Biden Perspectives Blogs series, in which we'll analyze and explain where Donald Trump and Joe Biden stand on major issues leading up to the 2020 presidential election. This blog will examine each candidate's stances on matters pertaining to the “Defund The Police” movement.

Biden: ‘Don’t Defund Police, Support Reforms’

In June, when many protesters demanding justice for George Floyd also called to “defund the police,” Biden penned an op-ed in USA Today advocating for police reform, but explicitly stated that he does not support defunding the police. Instead, Biden voiced his commitment to uprooting systemic racism, as well as his support for police officers and for criminal justice reform.

In the op-ed, Biden proposed $300 million to police departments to institute a national use of force standard, buy body cameras and recruit more diverse police officers. In July, Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders rolled out their 110-page Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, which reaffirms the criminal justice reform policies Biden would implement, and advocates for an “overhaul” of the criminal justice system by emphasizing prevention over incarceration.

In a July interview with progressive activist Andy Barkan, Barkan asked, "[D]o we agree that we can redirect some of the [police] funding?" Biden replied, “Yes, absolutely.” Biden went on to explain that he wants to withhold federal Byrne grants from police departments who refuse to eliminate chokeholds and no-knock warrants.

Some point to this exchange as proof that Biden wants to defund the police. Trump tweeted on July 17, “Corrupt Joe Biden wants to defund our police. He may use different words, but when you look at his pact with Crazy Bernie, and other things, that’s what he wants to do.” In a July 19 interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, Trump made the same claim, though Wallace challenged the president, saying, “[The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations] says nothing about defunding the police.” On July 20, the Trump campaign ran a TV ad again asserting that “Joe Biden wants to defund the police.”

On Aug. 31, Biden again clarified his position to KDKA, “Let's get the facts straight, I not only don't want to defund the police. I want to add $300 million to their local budgets to deal with community policing to get police and communities back together again.”

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Trump: ‘Defend the Police’

President Donald Trump, who has a history of supporting law enforcement, said in June, “There won’t be defunding. There won’t be dismantling of our police, and there’s not going to be any disbanding of our police.” Trump went on to add that he believes "99 percent" of police officers are "great people."

Trump’s second-term agenda has a section titled “Defend the Police,” which promises more support for law enforcement, an end to cashless bail and vows to bring “violent groups like ANTIFA to justice.”

In an ABC interview, Biden brought up Trump's Fiscal Year 2021 budget proposal, which would reduce Justice Department funding for state and local law enforcement by $380 million compared to 2020; Biden cited this as evidence that Trump is actually the one defunding the police. However, these cuts appear to be customary, and were made to a program that aimed at hiring more officers.

The budget also would eliminate $505 million reserved for the construction of a new prison that it said is unneeded due to the declining prison population, and cut $244 million in annual funding for the elimination of the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program, which the Trump administration said is an ineffective tool to support immigration enforcement, and shift that money to border enforcement instead.

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Read more from sources including The Hill, KDKA, Fox News, ABC, USA Today, Breitbart.

This piece was written by News Editor Micaela Ricaforte (Center bias) and Director of Dialogue Matt Byrne (Center bias).

Photo by AJ Colores on Unsplash