As usual, it was Chris Wallace who held Republicans accountable on the Sunday morning news shows. The Fox News anchor has been long the voice of reason on his network, arguably braver than most journalists because he’ll dismantle their arguments on what is supposed to be their turf. Wallace’s latest coup had him confronting a GOP lawmaker with one argument: It’s his side, not the Democrats, who are actually “defunding the police.”
Indiana representative Jim Banks went on Wallace’s show Sunday, hoping to pin the blame for an uprise in violent crime across the nation’s cities on Democrats’ critiques of how policing works in 2021. It’s a dubious claim; there are many reasons why crime is up, among them that people are finally out in the streets again, after over a year of quarantine. (Also, the GOP has made sure guns are very easy to obtain.) But Wallace flipped the tables on him and his colleagues.
“Let me push back on that a little bit,” Wallace told Banks, because in the program that he announced this week, the president said that the central part in his anti-crime package is the $350 billion in the American Rescue Plan, the COVID relief plan that was passed.”
Wallace then dug up one crucial, damning factoid. “Congressman Banks, you voted against that package, against the $350 billion, just like every other Republican in the House and Senate,” he said, “so can’t you make the argument that it’s you and the Republicans who are defunding the police?”
Banks tried to dodge the issue, parroting Republican talking points about anti-police rhetoric on the left. But Wallace kept pressing.
“The president is saying cities and states can use this money to hire more police officers, invest in new technologies and develop summer job training and recreation programs for young people,” he said. “Respectfully, I’ve heard your point about the last year, but you and every other republican voted against this $350 billion.”
But Banks continued to hem and haw, name-dropping the likes of Ilhan Omar, then claiming the “defund the police” talk is keeping people from signing up. Ergo, in his logic, what’s the use in giving them more money? It’s a questionable claim, to say the least, which should mean his base will buy it, hook, line, and stinker.
You can watch Wallace’s exchange with Banks in the video above.
(Via The Daily Beast)