Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said that not one Democratic senator supports the “defund the police” movement or slogan—in the latest rebuke to the Black Lives Matter-backed proposal.
Manchin, along with other moderate Democrats in Congress, has flagged the “defund” slogan as one that likely cost Democrats seats in the Senate and House—pushing back against claims made by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and others.
“You can respectfully disagree and we do that,” he told Fox News on Wednesday. “My people in West Virginia expect me to represent them in a rational and responsible civil manner, in a bipartisan independent manner and I do that to the best of my ability, so I don’t begrudge whatever she does.”
Manchin said that Ocasio-Cortez represents some people in New York City but said that most Congress members don’t share her sentiments on certain issues.
“It’s not who we are. We’re not going to defund the police, there’s not one senator, Democrat senator, that supports defunding the police,” he said.
“If anything we think there should be more investments made to better equip, better train, and continue the education so they have the social changes and know them better as they have to deal with them,” Manchin added. “There is so much more that has to be done. Defunding is not an option on the table. It might be in certain people’s district but no senator, no Democrat or Republican I’ve ever heard would defund the police.”
Previously, Manchin told the New York Times that Ocasio-Cortez is “not that active with her bills or in committee” and is “more active on Twitter.” It came after Ocasio-Cortez posted a photo of herself glaring at Manchin on Twitter after he criticized the “defund the police” statement that was echoed across the United States by Black Lives Matter protesters and Antifa agitators.
Several polls asking Americans about “defund the police” have found that the vast majority of Americans don’t support it.
In early November, Ocasio-Cortez, who describes herself as a socialist, attempted to qualify her remarks in saying that “Our [police budget] is too high,” referring to the New York City Police Department. “It’s my job to listen. We need to invest in those other types of safety,” Ocasio-Cortez said.