Representative Katie Porter (D – CA 45th District) has not publicly reversed her former radical stance on police reform, which included supporting a resolution written by representatives who called for defunding the police.
This comes as many of Porter’s fellow Congressional Democrats have publicly disavowed the movement to defund the police – a massive shift from the political climate of less than two years ago.
The slogan “Defund the Police” entered broad public use in mid-2020, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. However, it has since proven broadly unpopular with voters, and prominent Democrats have walked back their use of the slogan.
Recently, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in an interview that “‘defund the police’ is dead.” Pelosi added that while she still supports some elements of police reform, “(P)ublic safety is our responsibility.”
Porter has made no such public statement, despite her earlier support of many elements of the defund the police agenda. In June 2020, Porter publicly supported a Congressional resolution that she said would “condemn police brutality and call for reforms.”
I’m backing a resolution by @RepPressley, @Ilhan, @RepKarenBass, & @RepBarbaraLee to condemn police brutality and call for reforms. We cannot tolerate officers’ continued failure to keep people safe in their custody or police in ways that reinforce racial injustices.
— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) June 1, 2020
The resolution was co-sponsored by representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar, both of whom have publicly called for defunding the police. Two other sponsors of the resolution, representatives Karen Bass and Barbara Lee, have since condemned the slogan.
However, no similar condemnation has been forthcoming from Porter. In fact, in March of 2021 Porter voted against a resolution to condemn the defund the police movement. She also opposed a separate resolution to fund the Capitol police who protected her on January 6.
It remains unclear whether Porter will follow Pelosi’s lead and make a public statement condemning the defund the police movement, or otherwise clarifying her earlier positions. Porter’s silence has the potential to be a significant political liability as she goes into the 2022 midterm elections, which polls indicate will be a difficult fight for Democrats.