— The Hill (@thehill) December 1, 2020
Obama, 59, also suggested strongly that the oft-repeated “defund the police” damages the Democratic Party’s chances to enact real law enforcement reform. Moreover, the author of the record-breaking memoir A Promised Land says the enemies of police reform have gleefully exploited the catchphrase to energize the radical right-wing and White supremacists in America.
“You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” the 44th president said in an interview Peter Hamby, who hosts a Snapchat political show “Good Luck America.” The show was scheduled to air at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, according to The Hill.
“The key is deciding do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?” Obama added.
Some vehemently disagree with Obama’s take on the matter, including incoming Rep. Cori Bush, D-Missouri. The Black Lives Matter activist-turned-politician countered Obama on Twitter, insisting that the phrase is “not a slogan. It is a matter to keep our people alive.”
With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.
It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020
Other politicians sided with Bush on the volatile issue:
“We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand." – Rep. Ilhan Omar
“We didn’t lose Breonna because of a slogan.” – Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker
“It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive.” – Rep. Cori Bush https://t.co/YLTXgZeRdf
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) December 2, 2020
Others agree with Obama that pro-reform politicians need to take a more pragmatic approach. House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, told “Meet the Press” that the “defund the police” slogan cost Democrats House seats and eroded support for the BLM.
Clyburn said he agreed with the late Rep. John Lewis “that it had the possibilities of doing to the Black Lives Matter movement and current movements across the country what ‘Burn, baby, burn’ did to us back in 1960.”