During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Biden stressed the importance of giving communities enough money to hire and train law enforcement officers who can "restore trust and safety" to neighborhoods, saying, "The answer is not to defund the police. It's to fund the police. Fund them. Fund them."
Several Republicans stood after Biden said this, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Biden spoke about recently meeting with the families of two slain New York Police Department officers, Wilbert Mora and Jason Rivera, and said he told them "we are forever in debt to their sacrifices and will carry on their mission to restore the trust and safety every community deserves."
When it comes to public safety, "I know what works," Biden said. "Investigating, crime prevention, and community policing, cops who walk the beat, who know the neighborhood and can restore trust and safety. Let's not abandon our streets or choose between safety and equal justice. Let's come together and protect our communities, restore trust, and hold law enforcement accountable."
The American Rescue Plan provided $350 billion for cities and counties to hire more police officers, Biden said, an investment in "proven strategies" like breaking the cycle of violence and trauma and "giving young people hope." Biden also said he will do everything in his power to crack down on ghost guns and gun trafficking, and called on Congress to ban assault weapons with high-capacity magazines and pass universal backgrounds. "Why should anyone on a terrorist list be able to purchase a weapon?" he asked. "Why? Why?"