Democratic California Sen. Kamala Harris appeared to evade Meghan McCain’s direct question on defunding police.
Harris, who made a remote appearance Monday on ABC’s “The View,” skirted the direct question and instead talked about how it was important to “reimagine” what public safety could look like.
McCain began by noting that “defund the police” has become the new rallying cry for many activists, adding that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had refused to answer whether or not she would support such a move. McCain also brought up Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender, who told CNN that the instinct to call police in an emergency came “from a place of privilege.” (RELATED: Minneapolis City Council President Says Calling The Police During An Emergency Is ‘Privilege’)
“I want to know from you, do you support defunding and removing the police from American communities, and if not, why do you think there is such a hard time being differentiated right now between defunding and reforming police departments?” McCain asked.
“So, Meghan, I think that a big part of this conversation really is about reimagining how we do public safety in America, which I support, which is this,” Harris replied. “We have confused the idea that to achieve safety, you put more cops on the street instead of understanding to achieve safe and healthy communities, you put more resources into the public education system of those communities and to affordable housing and to home ownership, and access to capital for small businesses, and access to health care regardless of how much money people have.”
Harris went on to argue that communities with better schools and health care didn’t appear to need a larger police presence, and made the case that money funding police departments could be better spent on social services.
“You know, in many cities in America, over one-third of their city budget goes to police. So we have to have this conversation. What are we doing? What about the money going to social services? What about the money going to helping people with job training? What about helping with the mental health issues that communities are being plagued with for which we’re putting no resources?”Harris continued.
McCain agreed that there was certainly room for reform in many police departments. She then mentioned the viral video of Democratic Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, who was booed for refusing to commit to defund the police department.
“I’m going to ask you the same things the protesters asked him: do you support defunding the police? Do you?” McCain asked.
“How would you define ‘defund the police?'” Harris pushed back.
“I assume it’s removing police, and as Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said, bringing in a whole new way of governing and law and order into a community, and my understanding — again, this is something that has just come into my understanding recently, is that you would not have police officers, like this Minneapolis councilwoman said, that I would be a place of privilege if someone broke into my home, and I wanted to call the police,” McCain clarified.
Harris still did not give a straight answer, repeating her claim that it was time to “reimagine” what public safety looked like in America.