Karen Bass: ‘Defund the Police’ Means ‘Refund the Communities’

Karen Bass on The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club

Democrats and the broader left should rebrand their “defund the police” slogan as “refund the communities,” said Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), offering her political guidance on Friday’s edition of The Breakfast Club.

Bass is being considered by former Joe Biden’s presidential campaign for selection as his vice presidential running mate, according to left-wing and Democrat-aligned news media. The Biden campaign pledged to make the choice on sexual grounds, promising to choose a woman.

DJ Envy, one of The Breakfast Club‘s co-hosts, asked Bass about “defunding the police.”

Bass replied, “I say it a little different. Instead of saying, “defund the police,” I say, “refund the communities.”

Bass called for funds removed from law enforcement to be transferred to “community-based organizations,” a term she did not define.

“Communities [should] reinvision what public safety is like,” said Bass. She did not offer metrics upon which “public safety” should be measured. She broadly blamed criminality on insufficient redistribution of wealth and inadequate centralization of government power.


The federal government should regulate accreditation of police officers, stated Bass. She called for a national licensing system to regulate access to law enforcement.

Bass heralded her own political bona fides for the prospective selection as VP running mate.

“Systemic racism” used to be a “radical” idea, Bass remarked, celebrating the term’s entry into contemporary political vernacular. She said:

With George Floyd and policing on the table, it’s also raised the issue — for the first time that I can remember — where people have been talking about systemic racism. I mean, we were talking about that for decades, and it was something radical, but now people are actually talking about it.

Bass estimated that a black woman as Biden’s vice presidential running mate would boost black voters’ support for Democrats. She described herself as a potential “bridge” to Black Lives Matter and “activism that is happening in the streets.” She said:

I think that my years of activism — which has been several decades, now — my years of activism in this particular historical moment could allow me to be the branch, the bridge to the activism that is happening in the streets that can help bring us together.”

Later in the interview, Bass laid blame for 154,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the feet of President Donald Trump.

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