Psaki says crime surge due to 'underfunding' police despite Biden's 2020 calls to 'redirect' funds

Biden previously said police funding "absolutely" can be redirected.

Updated: January 24, 2022 - 5:34pm

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the surge in crime in the U.S. is in part caused by "underfunding" of police, and  that President Joe Biden has advocated for additional law enforcement resources his whole career. However, Biden has previously called for police funding to be redirected to other areas.

Fox News' Peter Doocy asked Psaki during a press briefing Monday what is causing the surge in crime over the last two years.

"Gun violence is a huge reason for the surge in crime, underfunding of some police departments, and their need for additional resources [is] something the President has advocated for consistently through the course of his career. That's something we know we need to take action on," Psaki said, adding that Biden "will not be satisfied or complacent when officers are being gunned down."

During his 2020 presidential campaign as Defund the Police protests raged across the nation, Biden made statements that contradicted Psaki's claims. 

When asked if he agreed that police funding can be redirected, Biden responded, "Yes, absolutely." 

His campaign has stated before that Biden does not support defunding the police. 

Many in Biden's party have called for defunding the police. For example, Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) in 2020 said: "When we say #DefundPolice, what we mean is people are dying and we need to invest in people's livelihoods instead." 

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) in 2021 said: "Defunding the police is about rebuilding our country in the image of our people — full of humanity, love, and care. Particularly for our kids and schools."

Biden has called for additional law enforcement funding as president but is reportedly planning to roll out new restraints on police officers through an executive order.