Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wouldn’t answer repeated questions about whether she plans to remove a large “Defund The Police” mural on a city street.
Instead, Bowser repeatedly lauded a Black Live Matter mural that the mayor’s office commissioned to honor the group that’s behind the nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd after his arrest by Minneapolis police.
ABC News’ “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” guest host Martha Raddatz noted that the mural has been called “a performative gesture” by the Black Lives Matter D.C. chapter — that suggested Bowser won’t allow the “Defund The Police” message to stay in place. “Is that right?”
“We certainly are very proud of the D.C. mural that we commissioned in our department of public works and local artists installed,” the mayor said. “It is an affirmative piece of art, a centering piece of art where people from around the globe have called us and thanked us for acknowledging black humanity and black lives in the most important city in the world, and we are very proud of that art.”
Bowser has already renamed a section of street near the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
“But will you take out the part that says defund police?” Raddatz again asked.
Bowser would only say that the defunding message was “not a part of the mural” but that the mayor and council “certainly encourage expression but we are using the city streets for city art.” (RELATED: Philly Restaurant Stops Offering Free Food To Police After Backlash — ‘We Believe Black Lives Matter’)
The host again tried to pin the mayor down on her position. “In other words, that will go away. You will paint over that?”
“I actually haven’t even had an opportunity to review it, Martha, but we — the response that we’ve gotten from people about the Black Lives Matter mural has just been incredible.”
Black Lives Matter as an organization is demanding that police forces be defunded or even abolished. Hollywood and other celebrities are lining up to scorn the police, and a former press secretary to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has advocated that cities across America reduce funding for their police forces. Proponents of defunding or abolishing the police argue that the forces are systematically racist.
President Donald Trump has condemned the defunding movement and has said voting for him in November 2020 will mean more money for law enforcement.