Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and 11 of his Senate colleagues have signed a “Back the Blue” pledge circulated by Heritage Action for America promising to oppose congressional proposals to defund the police.
Other senators signing the pledge include Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue (R-Ga.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
On the House side, 78 Republican representatives have signed the pledge, led by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). Other notable House signers include House Republican Conference Chairman Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and House Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson (R-La.).
No Democrat members of Congress signed the pledge.
The pledge reads:
“A lawful society — free from mob rule and violent insurrection — is not possible without Law Enforcement.
“Police officers have chosen a noble profession. They dedicate their lives to upholding the law and protecting the sacred rights of their fellow citizens. As a profession, they deserve support and respect.
“I stand with America’s Police and pledge to oppose any bill, resolution or movement to ‘Defund the Police.’”
Heritage Action announced the pledge on Aug. 13 in a law enforcement town hall event headlined by Vice President Mike Pence, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf and Ernst. Heritage Action is a legislative advocacy group associated with the Heritage Foundation, the nation’s largest conservative think tank.
The pledge came in response to a continuing wave of riots, protests, and demands for defunding law enforcement in reaction to the May 25 death of George Floyd while in custody of four members of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Radical left-wing activists with Antifa and Black Lives Matter used the protests as occasions to foment the violence. Dozens of people were injured and hundreds of businesses were damaged or destroyed in the riots that followed in Minneapolis, as well as Seattle, Portland, Oakland, and other major cities.
Eighty-two percent of Arizonans interviewed opposed defunding the police, as did 80 percent of Floridians, 76 percent of Pennsylvanians, and 78 percent of Wisconsinites.
Overall, 79 percent were opposed, including 69 percent who said they are “strongly opposed,” compared to 16 percent who favored such action. Opposition to defunding the police spanned all age groups, both genders, and the three major ethnicities, including 60 percent among blacks.
Spokesmen for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ requests for comment.
Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson told The Epoch Times she was disappointed by the failure of congressional Democrats to support the pledge.
“The American people overwhelmingly support the police, so it’s disappointing that not a single Democrat has signed our pledge to support law enforcement and oppose defunding the police,” Anderson said.
“It shows just how extreme the left’s agenda has become—not a single official or candidate on the left has stood up for safe communities and a lawful society. The brave men and women in uniform deserve our respect and support. Any elected official who can’t offer that support should be held accountable for abandoning the public servants who keep us all safe.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is opposing President Donald Trump in the November election, has expressed sometimes conflicting views on the issue of defunding the police. He said in July he supports “redirecting” some funding but in June, a Biden campaign spokesman said the candidate opposes defunding.
Other notable Republican signers of the pledge include former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who said in a statement accompanying announcement of her signature: “Violence and calls to defund the police do nothing to solve the challenges we face in our country. It’s time for our leaders to stand up to looting and rioting and work with law enforcement, not against them.”
Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.), 139 state and local officials, and more than 60,000 private citizens have signed the petition since it was announced.
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc