EDITORIAL:

Lies about Biden’s police plans aim to distract from failed virus response

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Matt Slocum / AP

In this June 17, 2020, photo, Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Darby, Pa.

President Donald Trump is a liar of a president and a liar of a candidate. True to his nature, Trump’s recent ads in Nevada mischaracterize Joe Biden’s stance on law and order to a ridiculous degree.

The ads, titled “You Won’t Be Safe” in English and “Eliminada” in Spanish, would have viewers believe that police departments would become hollowed out under a Biden presidency to the point that 911 calls would be handled by an answering machine. The message stems from the Trump team’s false claims that Biden wants to defund the police and that he stated in a speech that he considers police “the enemy.”

Here’s a breakdown.

Lie No. 1: Biden would not eliminate funding for police departments. In fact, he’s firmly rejected calls from the left wing to defund police, standing up to some members of his own party who take a much more drastic stand on the issue. Instead, Biden would boost money for social services with an eye toward addressing many of the issues that have been dumped on police officers to deal with — mental illness, domestic disputes, child welfare situations, etc. This would allow officers to better perform their core mission of protecting their communities more efficiently, and could actually reduce response times to 911 calls. Biden would make federal funding for police departments contingent on their adherence to responsible policing standards on use of force, but that’s far from supporting an elimination of money for departments. For a full view of his stance, visit Biden’s June 11 guest column at usatoday.com in which he states, “I do not support defunding police.”

Lie No. 2: The “enemy” comment was taken grossly out of context. Biden was referring to a legitimate problem with outfitting police with armored vehicles and military-style weapons — that when they enter communities looking like paramilitary forces, they’re perceived by residents of those communities as an “enemy” force instead of a protective law enforcement organization. That sets the stage for confrontations as opposed to cooperation.

Lie No. 3: In Trump’s ad, the sign-off of the automated 911 message indicates there will be a five-day wait for responses to calls, including for such serious crimes as rape. That’s patently ridiculous scare-mongering. Biden offered one of the more robust criminal justice plans of any Democratic candidate, including $300 million in new funding for community policing.

Here’s the truth: Trump is desperate to shift attention away from his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, so his team is pushing a completely false narrative that Biden is a sympathizer of left-wing extremists and anarchists who would abolish police departments. Meanwhile, Trump is sending federal troops to instigate clashes with peaceful protesters in order to fuel a lie that he is reestablishing order in cities gripped by chaos.

The anti-Biden ads in Nevada — part of a $6.7 million ad buy in 12 states by the Trump campaign — is almost undoubtedly the shape of things to come in the campaign as Trump desperately tries to resurrect his reelection chances. Other fear-mongering ads feature an elderly woman trying unsuccessfully to reach a 911 dispatcher during a home invasion, and falsely portray Black Lives Matter protests as scenes of rampant violence and looting.

This garbage is all aimed at the white suburbanites who have abandoned Trump over his abysmal coronavirus response and other failings. Trump wants to scare them back into his corner.

The truth is that Biden’s plan would support law enforcement while taking a more holistic approach to solving issues that have unfairly been left to authorities to address. We encourage readers to see Biden’s criminal justice plan for themselves by visiting joebiden.com/justice.