Fox News anchor Chris Wallace fact-checked President Donald Trump face-to-face at the White House about Trump's claim that his Democratic presidential opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has called for defunding the police.
Biden has explicitly said he is against defunding the police, a movement that has gained traction in several cities amid the weeks-long calls for racial justice. But Trump claimed Biden agreed to it in a "charter" that Biden co-signed with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.. -- a unity pledge by the two former presidential primary rivals.
Fox News released a clip of the interview set to air Sunday morning. Wallace was asking Trump about surging violence in certain cities such as New York and Chicago. Trump said they are "poorly run" by Democrats.
"And it's really because they want to defund the police and Biden wants to defund the police," Trump said.
"Sir, he does not," Wallace responded.
"He signed a charter with Bernie Sanders..." Trump continued. Wallace interrupted, saying the charter said nothing about defunding the police.
"Oh really?" Trump asked. "It says abolish, it says defund."
To reinforce the point, Trump then said "OK, let's go" and called for someone off-camera to get a copy of the charter.
That was all the teaser clip released by Fox News showed. But Wallace then told fellow anchor Bret Baier that Trump's staff retrieved highlights of the unity platform Trump was referring to.
"But he couldn't find any indication -- because there isn't any -- that Joe Biden has sought to defund and abolish the police," Wallace said.
The "Biden Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations" -- a 110-page document -- is posted to Biden's campaign website. A simple search finds the word "defund" is nowhere to be found, as the president claimed. The word "abolish" appears four times, but none of them are in regards to police.
Biden has not joined the call of protesters who demanded “defund the police." Biden has proposed more money for police, conditioned on improvements in their practices.
“I don’t support defunding the police,“ Biden said last month in a CBS interview. But he said he would support tying federal aid to police based on whether “they meet certain basic standards of decency, honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community, everybody in the community.”
Biden added in remarks Wednesday to reporters: "We don’t have to defund the police departments, we have to make sure they meet minimum basic standards of decency.”
Biden’s criminal justice agenda, released long before he became the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee, proposes more federal money for “training that is needed to avert tragic, unjustifiable deaths” and hiring more officers to ensure that departments are racially and ethnically reflective of the populations they serve.
Specifically, he calls for a $300 million infusion into federal community policing grant programs.
That adds up to more money for police, not defunding law enforcement.
Biden also wants the federal government to spend more on education, social services and struggling areas of cities and rural America, to address the root causes of crime.
Later Friday. Trump again made the claim on Twitter but said Biden "may use different words" to describe it.