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President Biden traveled to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to hold an event to tout his “Safer America” agenda and his administration’s policies surrounding support for law enforcement and crime, but instead shifted his tone and attacked Republicans as he urged those in attendance to vote for Democratic candidates running for positions in the Keystone State.
Shortly after taking the stage, Biden touted two prominent Democrats running for positions in Pennsylvania, the first being Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who is running to serve as the state’s next governor, and the second being John Fetterman, the state’s Democratic nominee for Senate.
“Josh Shapiro is a champion for the rule of law as your attorney general and he’s going to make one hell of a governor,” Biden said to applause. “I really mean it.”
Prior to the event, Biden said he spoke with Fetterman, a man he considered to be a “powerful voice.”
“I tell you what, Fetterman is a hell of a guy, a powerful voice for working people,” Biden said. “And he’s going to make a great United States senator. You’re going to make a great United States senator.”
Despite comments made by members of his own party, Biden attempted to paint himself as a pro-police president who has supported law enforcement throughout his nearly 50-year career in public service, which began when he was first elected to the Senate in 1973.
“I’m opposed to defunding the police, I’m also opposed to defunding the FBI,” Biden told the crowd.
Biden also attempted to draw comparisons between elected Democrats and Republicans as he took aim at those within the GOP who have not focused as heavily on the January 6 protests as Democrats have.
“Let me say this to my MAGA Republican friends in Congress: Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you won’t condemn what happened on the 6th. Don’t tell me. Can’t do it. For God’s sake, whose side are you on,” Biden said “You’re either on the side of the mob or the side of police. … You can’t be a party of law and order and call the people that attacked the police on January 6th patriots. You can’t do it. What are we teaching our children?”
Using the event to reiterate his call for an “assault weapons” ban in America, Biden urged those in attendance to vote against candidates in races who strongly oppose gun control efforts.
Folks, it’s time to hold our elected officials feet to the fire and ask them ‘are you for banning assault weapons?’ Yes or no, ask them. The answer’s no. Vote against them,” he said.
In closing his speech, Biden appeared to confuse the Senate position sought by Fetterman as being the governor’s seat, telling those in attendance to “elect that big ol’ boy to be governor.”
Prior to taking office, Biden suggested on the campaign trail that he “absolutely” would be OK with efforts to redirect some police funding, a suggestion he later walked back as he targeted Republicans and claimed in July 2021 that they were “lying” about efforts promoted by members of the Democratic Party to “defund the police.”
At that time, Biden claimed he had “never said defund the police” and argued that “we need more policemen, not fewer policemen” despite his previous support for reallocating funds.
Several progressive members of Congress, including “Squad” Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have called for the dismantling, defunding or greatly reducing the size of police departments.
Omar called for the Minneapolis Police Department to be dismantled because it is “rotten to the root.”