Jun 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden: Voters have "sent a clear message" on crime and gun violence

 President Joe Biden delivers remarks before signing nine bills into law with the goal of improving military veterans' lives in the State Dining Room at the White House on June 07.

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden said Wednesday that voters made clear in this week's primaries that Republicans and Democrats must "step up" and tackle crime and gun violence.

Why it matters: Crime emerged as a major issue among voters in liberal California on Tuesday, where a progressive San Francisco prosecutor was recalled and Los Angeles-based Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and billionaire developer Rick Caruso headed to a November runoff.

  • Biden has long rejected liberal calls to defund the police and used his State of the Union speech to make clear that his vision for law enforcement is for more police funding.

What he's saying: "The voters sent a clear message last night: Both parties ought to step up and do something about crime as well as gun violence," Biden told reporters at the Joint Base Andrews before boarding Air Force One to fly to Los Angeles.

  • "The first major bill we passed, we gave the states and localities billions of dollars ... and I encouraged them to use it to hire police officers and reform their police departments. Very few have done it," he continued.
  • "In addition to that, I sent to Congress a request for $300 million in this year's budget to deal with hiring cops, to retrain cops, as well as to make sure they are adequately dispersed around the communities," he added.
"It's time to states and the localities spend the money they have to deal with crime, as well as retrain police officers, as well as provide for more community policing."
— President Biden

What to watch: Biden's comments come as he pushes Congress for the reform of gun laws, saying he believes "rational Republicans" could act on some gun safety measures in the wake of last month's mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Go deeper... Axios Today podcast: Biden's push for police funding

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