U.S. Rep. Cori Bush addresses criticism over need for private security, ‘defund police’ rhetoric

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ST. LOUIS- U.S. Representative Cori Bush is responding to claims of hypocrisy by political opponents following a cable news interview where she defended spending thousands of dollars on private security while at the same time backing policies aimed at ‘defunding police.”

On Wednesday, during a CBSN interview, she said “either I spend $70,000 on private security over the last few months, and I’m here standing, here standing now, and able to speak, able to help save 11 million people from being evicted, or I could possibly have a death attempt on my life,” Bush said, adding “If I spend $10 more on it, you what I get to be here to do the work. So suck it up, and defunding the police has to happen. We need to defund the police and put that money into social safety nets, because we’re trying to save lives.”

In a FOX2 interview Thursday, Bush, who has publicly backed a policy agenda of redirecting money currently spent on policing tools to be spent on social programs for years, says her need for private security stems from real threats.

“There are outlets that say such terrible things about me, lies and then I receive death threats. I have had not only death threats I’ve had death attempts. Those same outlets won’t say hey we don’t agree with her policy but it’s not ok to say that you’re going to hang her. It’s not ok to say we’re going to do X Y Z to her family…..I have to be alive in order to do the work for St. Louis I don’t think there should be a dollar sign on what it takes to keep me alive.”

“Do I want to spend money on private security? Absolutely not I would love to not have to deal with security it’s not fun having private security but the other thing is I want security for myself but I don’t want it for my community. That’s not the case either,” Bush said.

While others may have different ideas of what “defund the police means,” Bush said her version of it would not impact a police department’s ability to respond to calls.

When asked about Bush’s comments Thursday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the death threats were disturbing. She reiterated that President Biden opposes the idea of defunding law enforcement.

“There may be some in the Democratic Party, including Congresswoman Bush, who disagree with him.  That’s okay.  But I would say the majority of Democrats — we’ve seen this in polling — and the majority of members also agree that we should not defund the police,” Psaki said.

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