Democratic members of the “Squad” in the House of Representatives slammed former President Barack Obama for coming out against the “defund the police” slogan in an interview that aired partially Tuesday night.
“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan like ‘defund the police,’ but you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” Obama said about the “defund the police” movement. The interview was hosted by Peter Hamby, who hosts a Snapchat political show and was released in full Wednesday.
The comments caused members of the “Squad” to criticize Obama’s comments. Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar said on Twitter that defunding the police is “not a slogan.”
We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020
Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib did not direct her comments directly at Obama but sent out tweets about being attacked for a movement that wants to help black lives instead of “racist police systems.”
Rosa Parks was vilified & attacked for her civil disobedience. She was targeted. It’s hard seeing the same people who uplift her courage, attack the movement for Black lives that want us to prioritize health, funding of schools & ending poverty, rather than racist police systems.
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) December 2, 2020
Democratic Massachusets Rep. Ayanna Pressley sent out a tweet saying she is tired of those to critique the language of activists.
The murders of generations of unarmed Black folks by police have been horrific. Lives are at stake daily so I’m out of patience with critiques of the language of activists.
Whatever a grieving family says is their truth.
And I’ll never stop fighting for their justice & healing.
— Ayanna Pressley (@AyannaPressley) December 2, 2020
Democratic Missouri Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush also said that “defund the police” is not a slogan and directed her comments at Obama.
With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.
It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020
Meanwhile, in early December, Obama slammed the Democratic Party for failing to give Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez enough speaking time at the Democratic National Convention.
“One thing I will say about the Democratic Party, promoting young people is really important. We stick so long with the same old folks and don’t make room for new voices,” Obama told Snapchat’s “Good Luck America.” (RELATED: ‘Make Room For New Voices’: Obama Scolds Dems For Not Giving Ocasio-Cortez Longer Speech At Convention)
“The fact that AOC only got, what? Three minutes or five minutes? When she speaks to a broad section of young people who are interested in what she has to say, even if they don’t agree with everything she says,” he continued. “New blood is always good. And I say that as somebody who used to be the young, shiny cool guy. But now is the gray-haired old grizzled vet.”