Former President Barack Obama had some harsh criticism for the “Defund the police” movement in an online interview scheduled to be released in three parts this week.
“You lost a big audience the minute you say it,” Obama said of the anti-police effort, adding that “snappy” slogans may draw attention but it “makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done.”
Obama made the remarks in a conversation with Peter Hamby, host of Snapchat’s “Good Luck America.” Part 1 of the three-part Obama interview is scheduled to be posted at 6 a.m. ET Wednesday, with the other parts set for release Thursday and Friday, Axios reported.
In the interview, Obama accused anti-police activists of trying to please one another – rather than push for policy changes that might appeal to a broader range of the public.
“The key is deciding, do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with?” Obama told Hamby, according to Axios.
Obama’s former vice president, Joe Biden, alienated “defund the police” activists in the Democratic Party when he said during his presidential run that he didn’t support the effort – even though he claimed to support banning chokeholds and creating a national police oversight committee.
Former President Barack Obama.
Police department policies and behaviors have drawn intense scrutiny nationwide following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis – as well as protests and rioting in multiple cities.
Progressive lawmakers such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have voiced support for the defund movement. Both initially opposed Biden’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, backing Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., instead.
But moderate Democrats including House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., have called the defund effort left-wing “foolishness,” and Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, alleged it “hurt a lot of our candidates” in the Nov. 3 elections.https://54cd1f76599361bdf1ecaffdf295d23a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Also in the Snapchat interview, Obama accused the Democratic Party leadership of sticking too long with “the same old folks” rather than making “room for new voices.”
He pointed to the party’s virtual convention in August, where rising star Ocasio-Cortez was given only a brief speaking role despite her wide popularity in the party.
Obama has been making numerous media appearances in recent weeks, all coinciding with the release last month of his memoir, “A Promised Land.”
Fox News’ David Rutz contributed to this story.