Mainstream media outlets who boasted about Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., influencing President Joe Biden’s latest eviction moratorium order were silent regarding her “defund the police” comments.
Last week, the Biden administration announced a new ban on landlords evicting tenants during the pandemic, despite conflicting with Supreme Court rulings. Although Biden ultimately announced the decision, many media outlets and Democrat politicians cited Bush’s protest outside the U.S. Capitol as a factor.
The Washington Post referenced this in an article titled “Cori Bush slept outside the Capitol to protest evictions. Democrats credited her for the renewed protections” noting “On Tuesday, Bush’s campaign succeeded.”
The New York Times was more direct in its article “With Capitol Sit-In, Cori Bush Galvanized a Progressive Revolt Over Evictions.” This article included the byline “Refusing to move from the Capitol steps, the first-term congresswoman from St. Louis intensified pressure on the Biden administration and showed her tactics could yield results.”
CORI BUSH DEFENDS CALLING TO DEFUND THE POLICE WHILE HAVING PRIVATE SECURITY: ‘YOU WOULD RATHER ME DIE?’
CNN and NBC also followed suit in coverage such as “Rep. Cori Bush is ready to keeping fighting to protect the eviction moratorium” and “Cori Bush: Freshman congresswoman in national spotlight over activism to fight eviction.”
However, all of these media outlets noticeably ignored comments from Bush shortly after the eviction moratorium announcement.
Speaking with CBS on Wednesday, Bush responded to criticism towards her support for the “defund the police” movement despite paying thousands of dollars for personal security. Addressing this criticism, she lambasted her critics as wanting her to “die” while also telling them to “suck it up.”
“They would rather I die?” Bush asked. “You would rather me die? Is that what you want to see? You want to see me die? You know because that could be the alternative.”
“So suck it up, and defunding the police has to happen,” she added.
Many people called out what appeared to be hypocritical behavior from the Missouri representative.
Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy tweeted “In less than 30 seconds…Cori Bush: ‘I’m going to make sure I have security.’ Also Cori Bush: ‘And defunding the police has to happen. We need to defund the police.”
Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker noted “Listen carefully. This is who is driving the agenda for the left.”
However, other media outlets did not report Bush’s comments as significant, despite previously highlighting Bush as an influencing factor just a few days earlier.
By Sunday, many outlets continued to focus primarily on Bush’s role in the eviction moratorium. NBC complimented Bush’s actions on “Meet the Press ” remarking “look at what happened this week right? Cori Bush slept on the stairs of the capital and forced the administration to do a complete 180 on the eviction moratorium. I mean progressives, I will agree. I think that progressives are learning in a big way how to fight back legislatively and that’s not something we have seen from an organizational perspective.”
ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” also featured guests claiming Cori Bush was “making all the difference…for millions of Americans and being celebrated.”
PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor and NBC News White House correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell heaped further praise on Bush’s actions calling them “a really rare but very effective moment of activism and protest at the capitol that moved policy.”
CNN’s Dana Bash, however, did question Bush on her “defund the police” comments on “State of the Union.” While Bash asked Bush if she’s concerned her comments will negatively affect Democrats, Bush claimed that Republicans are only focused on her private security as a “comms” issue.
“We have to work on what we want to say, what is our message, but then we also have to understand that we have to save lives too,” Bush said.
Rather, some media outlets instead criticized Republicans for using this as an attack against the Biden administration. Politico wrote “Republicans are salivating over a new interview in which Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) defended spending $70k on private security for herself as a member of Congress — while also saying Democrats should defund the police.”
Politico also framed the backlash as a political move noting “President Joe Biden has been pushing back against this narrative for more than a year. But comments like Bush’s have been potent for the GOP in swing districts.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki made similar comments when asked about it on Thursday.
“I will say that the president has been crystal clear that he opposes defunding the police,” Psaki said. “There may be some in the Democratic Party like Congresswoman Bush who disagree with him, and that’s OK. But I would say the majority of Democrats, we’ve seen this in polling, and the majority of members also agree that we should not defund the police.”
This response, of course, contradicted the previous praise lauded on to Bush for influencing policy decisions such as the eviction moratorium.
Both Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., previously complimented Bush’s actions. Pelosi complimented Bush “for her power action to keep people in their homes” while Schumer noted “she made yesterday’s announcement possible.”
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Though Biden denied ever supporting defunding the police, he previously agreed “absolutely” that there should be redirecting of police funds in 2020. Other predominant Democrats such as Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have openly and continually called for defunding the police and has openly supported Bush’s actions.
“Defunding police means defunding police,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools.”
For now, Biden has worked against the defund the police movement by offering $350 billion from the American Rescue Plan to New York City police officers to combat the growing crime rates.