Sen. Kamala Harris, D-CA, dodged the question of her stance on defunding local police departments Monday morning on ABC’s “The View.” Host Meghan McCain asked Harris the question point-blank, twice, both of which Harris answered with a description of “reimagined” public safety in America.
“Do you support defunding and removing 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.
Harris criticized the current state of law and order for the overextended and ill-founded role of police, while suggesting the state allocates funding away from the police department to other resources.
“When I talk to law enforcement, they know that they don’t want to be nor or are they skilled to be the ones who are responding to someone with mental illness or substance abuse or the homeless population, but in many cities that’s what’s happening because we are not directing those resources, those public resources, to where they need to go which is addressing mental health, homelessness, substance abuse, so that we don’t have to have a police response because we are smarter.”
McCain explained how other elected officials like the mayor of Minneapolis have been forced to answer the yes or no question. “Are you for defunding the police?” McCain asked again.
Harris asked how McCain defines “Defund the police,” and McCain quoted Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-MN, who suggested abolishing the police state and “bringing in a whole new way of governing and law and order into a community.”
Harris responded with vague neutrality. Her answer seemed to mimic that of Omar’s without explicitly saying she would support defunding the police.
“So again, we need to reimagine how we are achieving public safety in America,” she said. “And to have cities where one-third of their entire budget is going to policing and yet there is a dire need for mental health resources, for resources going into public schools, resources going into job training and job creation? Come on.”
Harris’ answer comes after many in the “Black Lives Matter” movement have protested against police funding and called for their removal. The Minneapolis City Council, in the town where the anti-race riots first broke out following the death of George Floyd two weeks ago, announced Sunday it had a veto-proof majority to disband the city’s law enforcement.