Black Lives Matter supporter Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., defended her position of "defunding the police" in a GMA interview, claiming that critics get "caught up on the words" rather than understanding the whole narrative that "police violence" needs to be addressed.
She argued that critics of the movement "spend more time focusing on the word ‘defund’ than they spend on caring and addressing the problem of police violence."
Bush defended the slogan while speaking to ABC "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Tuesday about her new book, "The Forerunner."
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Stephanopoulos introduced the segment by mentioning how Bush’s political career was born out of the aftermath of the Minneapolis police murder of George Floyd in 2020. Of the incident, she said, "First of all, it was a moment we didn’t know was coming. You know? There was no playbook that said, ‘Hey, if this happens in your community, do this.’"
She added, "I just stepped out on the streets during the protest as a nurse, as clergy, as someone of the community that just wanted to see justice happen. And I never had a desire to run for office … but it was through that that I saw how policy can help bring transformative change to communities, or it can hurt."
This brought the GMA anchor to his question. He stated, "In fact you’re one of the few Democrats now who still says, ‘Let’s defund the police.’ Are you worried at all that that could hurt some of your colleagues going into the midterm elections?"
Bush responded by explaining that critics get too hung up on the "defund" aspect, saying, "The thing about defund the police is we have to tell the entire narrative. People hear ‘defund the police.’ But you know what they’ll say? Say ‘reallocate,’ say ‘divest,’ say ‘move.’ But it’s still the same thing."
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She continued, "We can’t get caught up on the words. People spend more time focusing on the word ‘defund’ than they spend on caring and addressing the problem of police in this country."
Later in the interview, Bush and the anchor discussed legislation the congresswoman worked on, called the "Helping Families Heal Act," which Bush said partially helps aid in the healing and relief of families who have lost a loved one or suffered at the hands of police violence.
Bush noted that she worked on the bill "with the mother of Mike Brown, who was killed in Ferguson in 2014."
She added that there’s "no government-funded program to help those families, and just in 2021, there were only 15 days where the police did not kill someone. That’s a lot of people affected that could use mental health services."