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Squad Members Clap Back at Obama’s ‘Defund the Police’ Clapback

Members of the self-styled Democratic “Squad” responded to President Barack Obama’s criticism of the slogan “Defund the Police” — which also prompted a mixture of strong reactions from other political and media figures on Twitter.

President Obama’s comments — published in part Tuesday night, but aired in full Wednesday morning on Peter Hamby’s Good Luck America show on Snapchat — included a pragmatic critique of the slogan, along with support for the reforms its adherents promote.

“If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it’s not biased, and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan like ‘Defund the Police,’ but you know you’ve lost a big audience the minute you say it. Which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done,” Obama said in one portion of the interview.

Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar clapped back at Obama by explaining that the slogan is “not a slogan.”

Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley compellingly argued against critiquing the “language of activists,” and added that “Whatever a grieving family says is their truth.”

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib defended activism, invoking civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

Missouri Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush also argued that “Defund the Police” isn’t a slogan.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has not weighed in on President Obama’s comments [UPDATE: Congresswoman has now weighed in. See end of post for AOC’s response) but has been embroiled in her own feud with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin over the issue.

Obama’s comments spurred a flood of reactions from other figures on Twitter, many of whom ironically focused on the “snappy slogan” line, when the crux of the criticism isn’t the snappiness, but the mismatch between the slogan’s plain meaning — which is to prevent the police from continuing to receive funds — and the more palatable policy demands that many of its adherents list in their lengthy explanations of it.

It’s a bit like explaining that “Stab All Babies” is simply an activist call to vaccinate infants against deadly diseases, why do you hate babies and want them to die?

And while the message has been expanded to include policy reforms, the goal of many “Defund the Police” organizers actually is to actually abolish the police.

Others were supportive of Obama’s message, while still others trolled him over his own use of actually “snappy” slogans like “Yes, We Can,” and many saw the remarks as an assault on activism.

President-elect Joe Biden has also rejected the slogan, and consistently expressed support for the reforms Obama mentioned, and proposes using increased funding as an incentive for change. Nevertheless, President Donald Trump ran a slew of false ads claiming the opposite, and portraying a nightmare America where reports of rape and murder are diverted to a voicemail at an empty police station.

Update: AOC has also weighed in.

Watch Obama’s remarks above via Good Luck America.

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