Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner confirmed that he does not want to defund the police Sunday following a Daily Caller report that one of his campaign field directors called for the move.
Warner was asked about the issue during a radio interview with 107WCHV in Charlottesville, during which the host asked Warner directly whether he supported “dismantling the police.” Retired Marine Sergeant Tonya James, the staffer in question, criticized politicians who participated in protests but don’t support defunding the police, arguing that “cops are never fair.” The Caller reached out to Warner’s office for comment on the original story, but did not receive a response.
“I have not actually seen the tweets,” Warner said in the Sunday interview. “I don’t go through and censor everyone who works on my campaign … I’ll check out whatever was posted.”
Asked whether he agreed with the idea of dismantling the police, Warner replied “No. Do I think there needs to be criminal justice reform? Yes.”
James locked her Twitter account shortly after the Caller published an article about her posts, but screenshots of the tweets are still available. They show her criticizing Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey for dancing at a Black Lives Matter protest but refusing to support defunding the police.
“When you hear us say, love us like you love our culture this is what we mean. Mayor, you can’t come and do the cupid shuffle with us and then when you are asked to defund the police say no. That is not how any of this is going to work. Shuffle out the door,” James wrote in a tweet. (RELATED: ‘Act This Month’ — Joe Biden Calls On Congress To Fast-Track Police Reform Bill For Trump To Sign Into Law)
When another Twitter user called Frey’s dancing with protesters “endearing,” James disagreed.
“Not really,” she wrote. “He loves our culture up until the point he was asked to defund the police and he said no. Nothing enduring[sic] about this guy.”
The slogan of defunding the police has gained steam amid protests against the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. (RELATED: DC Archbishop Rips Saint John Paul II National Shrine For Allowing Itself To Be ‘Manipulated’ Ahead Of Trump Visit)
James has a history of criticizing the police that predates the Floyd protests, however. She tweeted in December 2019 that it was impossible for police to be unbiased in their work.
“Cops should be fair referees not political pawns.” The idea that one should ever think that cops could be fair referees is the whole reason why immigrants have to have government step in. Cops are never fair, because the institution is never fair,” she said.
Warner’s opponent has sought to capitalize on Warner’s disagreement with the field director.
“Warner is flip flopping around tough issues in order to not upset Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi’s far left agenda,” said retired Army Lt. Col. Daniel Gade, who is running against Warner as a Republican in the 2020 election.