Booker trolls Republicans in animated Senate speech over ‘defund the police’
"Madam President, I am so excited," said Sen. Cory Booker, clapping and calling the vote "a gift."
On Tuesday, Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville introduced an amendment eliminating federal funding for municipalities that defund the police, resulting in widespread Democratic support — and one lively eye-roll of a speech from his New Jersey counterpart.
“The woke rhetoric of ‘defund the police’ is dangerous. It puts our law enforcement at risk, and it puts the safety and security of Americans at risk. This must end,” Tuberville said. “If local leaders in Minneapolis or Portland are so beholden to the radical left that they cut financial support for their law enforcement, there is no reason federal taxpayers in Alabama or any other state should have to pick up the tab.”
“My amendment is simple: If a city council believes the ‘woke’ thing to do is to cancel the police department,” he continued, “then they shouldn’t expect the federal government to bail them out.”
Ninety-nine senators, including all Democrats, voted in support of Tuberville’s amendment, which was attached to a budget resolution. The measure is largely symbolic as a non-binding resolution that cannot progress into law.
New Jersey’s Cory Booker passionately trolled the Alabama senator and his amendment from the Senate floor.
“Madam President, I am so excited,” said Booker as he clapped his hands together. “This is a gift. If it wasn’t a complete abdication of Senate procedures … I would walk over there and hug my colleague from Alabama.”
“There are some people who’ve said that there are members of this deliberative body that want to defund the police— to my horror,” Booker said. “This senator has given us the gift of finally, once and for all, we can put to bed this scurrilous accusation that somebody in this great esteemed body would want to defund the police.”
He urged every senator to “sashay” down the aisle to vote for the non-binding amendment, which he said would “put to rest the lies” that Democrats want to dismantle police. He added that Democratic support would ensure “no political ads attacking anybody here over defund the police.”
Booker then jokingly made a request: “I would ask unanimous consent to add something else to this obvious bill. Can we add also that every senator here wants to defund the police, believes in God, country and apple pie?”
For his part, Tuberville afterward claimed victory, saying Senate Democrats pounced at the chance to distance themselves from “defund police” rhetoric.
The use of the term “defund the police” has been called a messaging mistake many have argued has hurt the Democratic agenda to reform law enforcement. On CNN this week, Missouri Rep. Cori Bush offered at times-confusing answer about whether she still supports the rhetoric.
“You have to tackle it from more than one place. We have to work on what we want to say, what is our message, but then we also have to understand that we have to save lives too,” Bush insisted. “I’m here to stand up for my community.”
“My job is to save lives, the lives of my community,” she said, “because, when we’re – when we’re talking about every single year increasing the budget for police, and then the budget for, like, Health and Human Services continuing to shrink, and St. Louis being number-one for police violence year after year after year, number one, number-two for homicides year and year, after year.”
The congresswoman conceded that the Democratic Party has to work on its messaging.
“I would say the majority of Democrats, we’ve seen this in polling,” said Bush, “and the majority of members also agree that we should not defund the police.”