Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) mocked what he described as “chutzpah” by Democrats pushing the talking point that Republicans deprived police and law enforcement agencies of funding amid a crime spike in cities across the nation.
“I gotta say, it’s remarkable that the White House is now apparently employing comedians,” Cruz told Fox News’ “Hannity” Tuesday night. “You know, there’s an old Yiddish word for that: chutzpah.
“For them to come out and claim that it’s Republicans who want to defund the police, that’s like an arsonist showing up at the fire and blaming the firemen,” Cruz riffed. “That’s like the Chinese blaming the Americans for the Wuhan virus. That’s like OJ [Simpson] saying he’s gonna help find the real killer.”
White House adviser Cedric Richmond accused congressional Republicans Sunday of attempting to “defund the police” by opposing the $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid package known as the American Rescue Plan. President Biden said last week that cities and states could use $350 billion in relief aid that the government began to distribute last month to bolster their police forces.
“When we were in Congress last year trying to pass … an emergency relief plan for cities that were cash-strapped and laying off police and firefighters, it was the Republicans who objected to it,” Richmond, a former Louisiana congressman, told “Fox News Sunday”. “And in fact, they didn’t get funding until the American Rescue Plan, which … allowed state and local governments to replenish their police departments and do the other things that are needed.
“Republicans are very good at staying on talking points of who says defund the police,” Richmond added, “but the truth is, they defunded the police, we funded crime intervention, and a whole bunch of other things.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki backed Richmond’s claim Monday, telling reporters: “I think that any local department would argue that keeping cops on the beat to keep communities safe when they had to, because of budget shortfalls, fire police is something that helped them address crime in their local communities.”
Cruz decried the claims by Richmond and Psaki as “absurd” and “ridiculous, and they know it.”
“But, you know what, they’re also counting on the media all encircling Joe Biden and saying, ‘Poor Uncle Joe, he doesn’t want to abolish your police’ …,” the senator added.
“Look, the Democrats understand they’re in trouble,” Cruz went on. “Abolishing the police is stupid. The American people know that. By the way, African Americans and Hispanics overwhelmingly oppose abolishing the police, and so suddenly these rich white liberals that said, ‘Let them eat cake, let them be without police’ are realizing, ‘Oh, no! This is unpopular’, and so they’re trying to claim, ‘These aren’t the droids you’re looking for’ and they’ve never supported it.
“It’s absurd [and] it’s ridiculous.”