WATCH: Rep. Barbara Lee Says ‘Biden is Absolutely Correct’ When CNN’s Erin Burnett Presses About Leaked Defund Police Tape


California Congresswoman Barbara Lee told CNN’s Erin Burnett that President-elect Joe Biden is “absolutely correct” about the political effects of the “Defund the Police” movement.

Rep. Lee — a popular progressive member of the House who is on a short list to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the Senate — did not waver when Burnett pressed about the leaked audio on Thursday night’s edition of OutFront.

Burnett told Rep. Lee “I want to give you a chance to react to President-elect Biden. The quote he said is Republicans, quote, ‘beat the living hell out of us across the country,’ he says, because of the ‘defund the police’ movement, because of those words, and he says that is not what Democrats are talking about,” and asked “What’s your response? What do you say?”

Without hesitation, Lee replied “Well, it’s not. Yes, it’s not and President- elect Biden is absolutely correct.”

“The Republicans in many ways weaponized police reform policies, and that is what they did in their ads, and that is the misrepresentation of what police reform is about,” she explained, and pointed out that the House-passed George Floyd Justice and Policing Act “has been sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk for months.”

“So the Republicans have this way of just trying to misrepresent what we’re doing, so we move forward on our police reform efforts, and I believe that we’re going to be successful with the Biden-Harris administration,” Rep. Lee said.

Burnett cited support for Biden’s view from House Majority Whip James Clyburn and dissent from Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush, and told Lee “I just want to kind of push you a little bit more here. I understand your point about Republicans, but it isn’t just Republicans. There are Democrats who are saying that, too, and it appears that the president-elect is going to take them on.”

“Most Democrats want to hold the police accountable,” Rep. Lee said. “Most Democrats know that the police should not be delivering mental health services. Most people know that the black and brown communities want public safety and that we have to restructure our funding priorities in terms of how we make our communities safe. And so, most Democrats understand the need for accountability, and they need to make sure there is justice in our criminal justice system.”

Burnett also asked Rep. Lee about her potential selection as Harris’ successor in the Senate, and that of fellow short-lister Rep. Karen Bass, and the pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom to select a Black woman.

Rep. Lee said she was “honored” to be considered and would respect whatever decision Newsom makes, and added “We know black women have many experiences and many issues that they bring to the table, not only to solve problems and minority communities of color, but will help solve the entire problems of the entire country. It’s the governor’s decision, and I will respect his decision.”

Watch the clip above via CNN.

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