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GOP Senators Question Biden Nominee on Defunding Police, Insults of Republicans | Federal Inquirer

Brittany Jordan

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Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. June 16, 2020. (Tom Williams/Reuters Pool)

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.

“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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Zachary Evans is a news writer for Federal Inquirer Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.



Brittany Jordan is an award-winning journalist who reports on breaking news in the U.S. and globally for the Federal Inquirer. Prior to her position at the Federal Inquirer, she was a general assignment features reporter for Newsweek, where she wrote about technology, politics, government news and important global events around the world. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toronto Star, Frederick News-Post, West Hawaii Today, the Miami Herald, and more. Brittany enjoys food, travel, photography, and hoarding notebooks and journals. Her goal is to do more longform features journalism, narrative writing and documentary work, and to one day write a successful novel and screenplay.

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