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Democratic leaders seek distance from Tlaib's call for 'no more policing'

Pelosi, Schumer, Biden and Clyburn are among those distancing themselves from Tlaib's statement.

Updated: April 16, 2021 - 10:36pm

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Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib's tweet calling for no more policing has resulted in backlash within her own party. 

"It wasn't an accident," Tlaib wrote Tuesday on Twitter. "Policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist. Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence. I am done with those who condone government funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can't be reformed."

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that President Biden disagreed with Tlaib. 

"What I can state from here is that that's not the president's view," she said on Tuesday. "The president's view is that there are necessary, outdated reforms that should be put in place; that there is accountability that needs to happen; that the loss of life is far too high; that these families are suffering around the country; and that the black community is exhausted from the ongoing threats they feel.

"But he also believes that there is a forum for putting in place legislation, the George Floyd Act, that can help put many of these necessary reforms in place, and that part of what needs to happen is rebuilding trust in communities in order to get to a better place." 

Responding to Tlaib's tweet, House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn said the U.S. needs police officers.

"This is not about policing," said the South Carolina representative on CNN. "This is not about training. This is about recruiting. Who are we recruiting to be police officers? That to me is where the focus has got to go. We've got to have police officers."

When Democrats lost seats in the House in the 2020 election, Clyburn said the "Defund the Police" slogan that Black Lives Matter promoted had hurt his party.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also distanced herself from Tlaib's statement about eliminating policing and promoted the police reform legislation House Democrats are supporting.

"This is all the more sad with the tragic killing of Daunte Wright this week," she said in a statement. "Our legislation provides a solution to systemic racism and does not paint all law enforcement with the same brush."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said his focus is police reform legislation and not getting rid of all policing. 

"Look, we all know we have to root out systemic bias in law enforcement, and we feel the best way to do that is the Justice in Policing Act," Schumer said. "I don't know if it passed the House this year, but it passed it last year, and we are making every effort to move it forward in Senate."

Even democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, a former Democratic presidential candidate, said he disagreed with Tlaib's comments.

On Wednesday, Tlaib tweeted that "we need to reimagine how we approach public safety and the opportunity for every person to thrive."

Tlaib also wrote that "the only way we will all have safe communities is to invest in our people, not double down on failed overpolicing and criminalization."

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