As McCain explains the confusion around the movement, Sunny breaks down what it all really means.
The “Defund the Police” movement continued to be a Hot Topic on “The View” on Tuesday, after Meghan McCain got some blowback for her conversation with Senator Kamala Harris about the subject the day before.
While McCain previously said she’s all for police reform, she apparently struggled to understand the difference between reforming, defunding or disbanding police departments as a means to combat police brutality. Today, she explained one of her biggest issues with the “Defund the Police” movement is its name.
“If you were to hire me to advise you to run for office, there are a few tenants of politics that have not changed. One of them is if you’re explaining, you’re losing and there’s a lot of explaining going on on this,” she said on Tuesday. “I will tell you, if you mean ‘Reform,’ say ‘Reform.’ If you mean ‘Defund,’ say ‘Defund,’ people are confused.”
She then pointed to Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar calling for the “complete” dismantling of the Minneapolis police department following George Floyd’s death. Omar, however, isn’t pushing just for defunding or reform — she wants the force dismantled.
“When Americans hear that I don’t know what interpretation there is to this,” added McCain. “Joy, you don’t like things being weaponized in politics for a term, but this is giving Trump a really great campaign slogan.”
Saying she understood and heard “loud and clear” what her cohosts were saying about the differences between the three calls to action, McCain told Democrats they needed to be “real crystal clear” on their messaging.
“Listen, you guys can spin and say everything you want,” she told her cohosts. “I know that politics, at the end of the day, is real simple and it is about slogans. Defund the Police is a great one for the Trump campaign.”
McCain’s comments came after cohost Sunny Hostin broke down the different responses to combating police brutality in detail at the very top of the hour.
“I think the biggest misunderstanding comes from those that aren’t that familiar with law enforcement, because it’s something I spent the majority of my career doing,” said Hostin, a former federal prosecutor. “The biggest misunderstanding is that people think defunding the police means abolishing the police and that’s not true. There are three different reactions to what you can do in terms of combating police brutality, especially police brutality in black and brown communities, because we know it’s disproportionate.”
“You can either reform the police departments, you can either defund the police departments or you can disband the police departments,” she explained. “What we generally see, Whoopi, is we see reforming. We see deescalation techniques being taught, we’ve seen the implementation of body cameras, we’ve seen implicit bias training. That hasn’t necessarily worked, because we know not all police officers have done it, we know police officers are turning off their body cameras, they’re not engaging their body cameras. Implicit bias training doesn’t seem to be working.”
She then explained that defunding means reallocating some of the police department’s massive budget to “social services within communities,” like ones focusing on mental health and education.
“There are schools that have cops, but don’t have school nurses. They have cops, they don’t have mental health professionals. They have cops, but they don’t have coaches,” she said.
She went on to say most cops she’s spoken with do not want to respond to 9-1-1 calls “with mental health issues” and would prefer mental health professionals to respond instead. “And the majority of 9-1-1 calls are for mental health issues.”
When it comes to disbanding police departments, she then pointed to the town of Camden, New Jersey, which disbanded and then rebuilt their department from the ground up 7 years ago.
“What happens there is it’s disbanded, officers reapply for their positions, people in the community apply for their positions, they’re retrained but it looks very different,” she explained. “It’s reimagined. It’s so rare, it’s only been done a handful of times. It’s an option that people are now considering.”
Hostin then said the conversation around defunding the police isn’t a new one and has been going on for decades. “This is not a new discussion and I’m surprised people are relegating it to a slogan, because that’s not what this is about, it’s about saving lives,” she added.
Tuesday’s conversation comes after McCain caught heat for her interview with Senator Kamala Harris the previous day. During the discussion, McCain appeared confused over the difference between reform, defund and disband.
She later tweeted, “It is not my job to explain the radical policies of the left most Americans are confused by,” adding, “If ‘defund’ actually means ‘reform,’ why are you saying defund?”
“I think we should be having as many conversations as possible about real police reform and almost every American I know wants this, ” she added, before addressing criticism head on. “I am never unprepared, ever, on our show. It’s my job.”
Watch today’s full discussion below: