On The View Tuesday, the liberal hosts began the show trying to clear up what Democrats really mean when they say, “defund the police,” even as Democrats and left-wing activists use the term interchangeably to mean defund and abolish. Co-host Joy Behar somehow found a way to blame the right for “weaponizing” and “distorting” the Democrats’ sloppy messaging. But Meghan McCain pointed out to her co-hosts that “when you’re explaining, you’re losing.”
Co-host Whoopi Goldberg began noting the “controversy and confusion” that a “misunderstanding” about “defund the police” is causing. She asked co-host Sunny Hostin to lean into her legal background and help explain what Democrats mean.
Hostin downplayed the left's calls to “abolish” the police and insisted that it is a “big misunderstanding” that “people think that defunding the police means abolishing the police. That's not true.” She went on to claim that police reform “hasn't necessarily worked,” so “the next step would be defunding the police departments,” by redirecting resources to education and social services.
But co-host Joy Behar insisted the phrase was being “weaponized” and “distorted” against Democrats:
[T]he real word should be reform. But of course defund sounds very scary and people say, oh they're going to eliminate the police department. Of course that is a ridiculous -- on its face. No one is eliminating a department that protects people. If I'm getting mugged I certainly want the police coming to my aid. So let’s just pretend---It annoys me when they weaponize a term.
She even got in some pro-life bashing as well:
I think that, you know, people just take the words and distort them. Even the so-called pro-life movement. Pro-lifers are happy to be pro life until the person is born. Then they drop social programs and continue to not be pro-life. So they call it pro-life, but it's really anti-abortion.
Behar also claimed there was systemic police brutality like there was systemic abuse in the Catholic church:
It reminds me of the Catholic church and the scandal there where a certain rogue priest is an abuser. Instead of kicking him out and sending him to jail, they send him to the next parish. These things are all systemic and need changed.
But Meghan McCain noted that Democrats weren’t winning if they had to explain their slogan.
“If you're explaining, you're losing. There's a lot of explaining going on on this. Now I will tell you, If you mean reform, say reform. If you mean defund, say defund. People are confused,” she said before pointing out Ilhan Omar has called to dismantle the “rotten” Minneapolis PD. She added, “I think people have to be real crystal clear on this. And Listen, you guys can spin and say everything you want. I know the politics at the end of the day is real simple and it is about slogans and defund the police is a great one for the Trump campaign.”
After that remark, the rest of the co-hosts tried to jump in. Whoopi Goldberg got the last word. She insisted Democrats should explain what a simple phrase means. She went on to list a few names of the high profile police shootings that have happened in the past five years as evidence there’s “systemic racism” in our police force, even though the data doesn’t back that notion up.
Whoopi also kept denying that anybody wanted to dismantle the police entirely. Apparently she hasn’t seen video of protesters calling for exactly that and the Minneapolis City Council caving to those radical demands. As McCain noted Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has, Whoopi flatly denied what she said:
“No I think she probably wants to reform it. But it sounds better--Like you know, both sides always do. They do the better word.The truth of the matter is no one wants the police department gone,” she insisted before closing the segment.
Read the transcript, below:
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: As protests continue across America, calls to defund the police are taking center stage. Now, the term defund is causing a lot of controversy and confusion on both sides of the aisle apparently because there seems to be different interpretations of the concept. Sunny, I'll come to you first. What is the biggest misunderstanding here?
SUNNY HOSTIN: I think the biggest misunderstanding comes from those who aren't that familiar with law enforcement. It's something that I spent the majority of my career doing. The biggest misunderstanding is that people think that defunding the police means abolishing the police. That's not true. There are three different reactions to what you can do in terms of combatting police brutality, especially police brutality in black and brown communities. Because we know that's where that’s disproportionate.
You can either reform the police departments, you can either defund the police departments or you can disband the police departments. What we've generally seen is we've seen reforming. We've seen deescalation techniques being taught. We've seen the implementation of body cameras. We've seen bias training. That hasn't necessarily worked. Because we know not all police departments 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. The next step would be defunding the police departments. That does not mean abolishing, it means taking some of those funds -- and let's face it there is about $6 billion sent to the police departments to militarize police departments. They have bayonets they have armored vehicles, aircraft, that kind of thing. When you defund police departments, you take parts of those budgets and send it to social services in the communities. Things like mental health, things like education.
There are schools in many many districts 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. And so those funds would go there. I will tell you having interviewed so many police officers they don't want to respond to 911 calls with mental health issues. They want mental health professionals to respond. The majority of 911 calls are not for 911 calls, they are for mental health issues. The last and most rarest form of combatting police brutality is disbanding police departments. It's rarely done. It was done in I think about seven years ago in Camden, New Jersey. What happened there is it’s disbanded. Officers are then basically -- they re-apply for their positions. People in the community reapply for their positions. Police safety--They're retrained, but it looks very different it’s reimagined. Again it's so rare that it's only been done a handful of times.
And It hasn't really been done in big metropolitan cities. But it's an option people are considering. This discussion was going on when I was a community prosecutors in the late '90s. Bill Braton said it's been going on for 50 years or more. So this is not a new discussion. I’m surprised People are relegating it to a slogan. That's not what this is about. This is about saving lives.
WHOOPI: Joy, you're a former English teacher. What does defund mean to you here?
JOY BEHAR: Well, Sunny said basically everything that needs to be said about it. Because the real word should be reform. But Of course defund sounds very scary and people say, oh they're going to eliminate the police department. Of course that is a ridiculous -- on its face. No one is eliminating a department that protects people. If I'm getting mugged I certainly want the police coming to my aid. So let’s just pretend---It annoys me when they weaponize a term. Like you said, I’m an English teacher. The term black lives matter, I'm interested in that. Because certain people I know say all lives matter. The explanation that someone gave which I think is brilliant, is well, the house is on fire on this block. This house is on fire. These other houses are also not on fire. Yes, these matter, but this is the house this is the house that’s on fire right now. I think that, you know, people just take the words and distort them. Even the so-called pro-life movement. Pro-lifers are happy to be pro life until the person is born. Then they drop social programs and continue to not be pro-life. So they call it pro-life, but it's really anti-abortion. Well then said it like that is my-- and as Sunny points out Biden and Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats, they just want to get rid of choke holds which sounds so inhuman to me. Also if you're going to barge into people's houses, knock on the door first. Every police show I've ever seen they knock and say police and then go in. Why is it certain states let police go into the house without warning them that they’re there? And they need a national database for tracking police misconduct. They keep sending them from one precinct and another. It reminds me of the Catholic church and the scandal there where a certain rogue priest is an abuser. Instead of kicking him out and sending him to jail, they send him to the next parish. These things are all systemic and need changed.
WHOOPI: So Meghan, you think this is risky strategy for Democrats?
MCCAIN: Yeah. I don’t know how much time I have right now. But I will say, 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. There's a lot of explaining going on on this. Now I will tell you, If you mean reform, say reform. If you mean defund, say defund. People are confused. But I will say, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called for “the complete dismantling of the police department. It's rotten to its core.” So when Americans hear that, I don't know what interpretation there is to this, because its a complete dismantling of the police department. Joy, you don't like things being weaponized in politics for a term, but this is giving Trump a really great campaign slogan. Again, I understand and hear loud and clear what you're saying. I've been reading and watching for the past day. I understand there's a lot of people that say reform. But Reverend Al Sharpton himself said this is confusing to people -- excuse me misleading without interpretation. I think Democrats have to be real crystal clear on this. Because all I know is I saw a video of a Minneapolis city council woman who said it's a privilege for me to be able to call the police department if someone broke into my house and someone was trying to hurt me or rob me. I think people have to be real crystal clear on this. And Listen, you guys can spin and say everything you want. I know the politics at the end of the day is real simple and it is about slogans and defund the police is a great one for the Trump campaign.
WHOOPI: I got something to say. I got something to say. I got something to say. You must explain. I'm going to explain to Bill Barr now who says there's no systemic racism. Eric Garner, George Floyd couldn't breathe. Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile said I have a gun, Tamir Rice, was 12. If you can't look at that and say, we have an issue and we have to sit down and talk about it and figure out how to make the good cops better and get the bad cops out of the way, no one that I know wants to get rid of the police department. No one.
MCCAIN: Ilhan Omar does.
WHOOPI: No I think she probably wants to reform it. But it sounds better--Like you know, both sides do
Always do. They do the better word.The truth of the matter is no one wants the police department gone. We celebrated the police department during 9/11. We celebrated the police department in COVID times. What we're saying is, those are the great things we want the police departments to continue to do and to take care of the people. But these other things that we're seeing day after day on television because people are filming, those guys, those things have to change. And there is no question that there is a problem. What I don't understand is why no one is saying from the police side, yes, we get it. We're seeing the same thing you are and we got to get rid of the bad apples. Why does everything start with no we can’t? Why doesn’t it start with, we see what you’re talking about, let’s come together and figure out what to do.