‘Make Us Less Safe’: Psaki Responds To Tlaib’s Support For Prison Abolition

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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President Joe Biden will not support a plan endorsed by Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib that would release all prisoners from federal detention facilities within ten years, press secretary Jen Psaki said at her Tuesday press conference.

“The president does not support abolishing prisons, he does not support defunding the police. He thinks measures like that will make us less safe, and he would not support legislation that includes it,” Psaki said.

Tlaib has expressed support for the BREATHE Act, a plan written by the left-wing Movement for Black Lives that would require the “full decarceration of federal detention facilities within ten years” and ban common forms of punishment and surveillance, such as parole, probation and electronic ankle monitoring. The BREATHE Act has not been introduced as a formal piece of legislation, but has received support from Tlaib and Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley. (RELATED: ‘Serious Effort To Compete In The Woke Olympics’: John Kennedy Criticizes BREATHE Act, Calls Squad Members ‘Marxists’)

During a Sunday appearance on Axios on HBO, Tlaib downplayed the BREATHE Act’s provisions.

“Look at the folks that are mentally ill who have substance abuse problems,” Tlaib told Jonathan Swan. “Why aren’t you asking me about them? You’re asking me about the … human traffickers and others who should be able to be held accountable.”

She later admitted that not every prisoner could be rehabilitated.


However, Psaki, added, Biden does support “effective and accountable community policing and a fairer justice system, and he supports investment in public health, education, the environment, housing, community-based programs. But, he knows there are steps and he believes there are steps that we know are going to reduce crime and make our neighborhoods safer, but that is not one of them in his view,” she said.

A member of ‘The Squad,” Tlaib is a prominent supporter of defunding the police, describing “police systems” as “racist.” She called the police shooting death of Minnesota resident Daunte Wright “government funded murder” that “was not an accident.”

Biden has criticized the “defund the police” movement, privately claiming that Republican messaging on it “beat the living hell” out of Democrats in the 2020 election. He has also claimed that Republicans are lying about Democratic support for defunding police, and compared Democratic support for defunding police to Republican support for the QAnon conspiracy theory.