President Joe Biden on Tuesday said the attacks on the FBI following the agency’s search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence are “sickening,” and offered scathing criticism of Republicans in Congress who have not condemned the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
“It’s sickening to see the new attacks on the FBI, threatening the lives of law enforcement agents and their families for simply carrying out the law and doing their job,” Biden said during a speech in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
Biden continued, “Look, I want to say this clear as I can: There’s no place in this country, no place, for endangering the lives of law enforcement. No place. None, never, period. I’m opposed to defunding the police. I’m also opposed to defunding the FBI.”
In a forceful and impassioned speech in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, the President ratcheted up his criticism of Republicans who subscribe to Trump’s ideology.
“Don’t tell me you support law enforcement if you won’t condemn what happened on (January 6). Don’t tell me. Can’t do it. For God’s sake, whose side are you on?” Biden said.
The President said, “You can’t be pro-law enforcement and pro-insurrection. You can’t be a party of law and order and call the people who attacked the police on January 6 patriots. You can’t do it.”
Biden traveled to Pennsylvania to promote his proposal to bolster police forces across the nation and reduce gun crime, which includes hiring and training 100,000 police officers over the next five years.
“When it comes to public safety in this nation, the answer is not defund the police, it’s fund the police,” Biden said.
Biden said, “I’m tired of not giving the kind of help they need. Folks, look, we’re in a situation in this country where we have to give them additional resources they need to get their job done.”
Biden renewed his push for a federal ban on assault weapons as the White House attempts to seize on the momentum spurred by Congress passing the first major federal gun safety legislation in decades earlier this summer.
The President was initially scheduled to unveil his “Safer America Plan” last month in Pennsylvania but his trip was postponed after he tested positive for Covid-19 the morning he was slated to fly to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.
The plan asks Congress to appropriate more than $10 billion in funding over five years for the COPS Hiring Program in order to help fund the hiring and training of the additional police officers.
The President has repeatedly rejected calls from some Democrats and activists to “defund the police” and cut budgets to police departments and reallocate funding to social services to respond to non-violent crimes. The movement grew to national prominence following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020.
The President’s Tuesday visit to Pennsylvania will be the first of three appearances in the key battleground state over the next week. Biden is slated to deliver a primetime address in Philadelphia on Thursday and scheduled to travel to Pittsburgh on Labor Day.
Biden’s unofficial midterm campaign kickoff took place last week, when he offered one of his sharpest rebukes of MAGA Republicans and told a group of Democratic donors that the “entire philosophy that underpins” the Make America Great Again agenda is “semi-fascism.”