President Biden’s nominee for associate attorney general faced questions from Republicans over her stance on defunding the police and past insults of GOP senators during a confirmation hearing on Tuesday.
Nominee Vanita Gupta told the Senate Judiciary Committee at her hearing that she does not support defunding the police. However, Senator Ted Cruz (R., Texas) noted that her position may contradict several past statements in which Gupta appeared to advocate shrinking police budgets.
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“You also encouraged reallocating resources,” Cruz said, “and stated quote, ‘Some people call it defunding the police. Other people call it “divest, invest.” Whatever you call it, if you care about mass incarceration, you have to care about skewed funding priorities.’”
Gupta made those remarks in a presentation to Arabella Advisors, a liberal “dark money” group. Gupta also said in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 16 that it is “critical for state and local leaders to heed calls from Black Lives Matter…activists to decrease police budgets and the scope, role, and responsibility of police in our lives.”
However, Gupta rejected Cruz’s implication that she supports defunding the police.
“Senator, respectfully, I disagree with how you’re characterizing that. I don’t support defunding the police, I’ve been very clear about that,” Gupta said. The statements cited by Cruz “reflect conversations that I’ve had with sheriffs across the country, police officers, police chiefs, civil rights activists, who have been talking to me for years.”
Gupta also apologized for what she described as “harsh rhetoric” against Republicans in her Twitter posts.
“Her Twitter feed has painted Republicans with a broad brush, describing the Republican National Convention as three nights of ‘racism, xenophobia and outrageous lies,’” Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) commented.
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