The pushback marks the White House’s most aggressive response to the FBI’s search to date and comes as other Republicans, including former Vice President Mike Pence, are sounding alarms on this message amid heightened threats to law enforcement.
“Just like President Biden rejects defunding the police, he rejects defunding other law enforcement, including the FBI,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement exclusively to CNN Wednesday.
“The President has called for boosting police funding through the COPS program and hiring 100,000 additional officers. He also included over $10.8 billion for the FBI in his most recent budget. The men and women who bravely serve in law enforcement to keep all of us safe deserve the resources and support that they need to do their jobs – not seeing their budgets slashed,” he said.
It’s similar to a tactic taken by some progressive Democrats who campaigned on defunding the police in response to police brutality as the Black Lives Matter movement gained national momentum. Biden has consistently distanced himself from that stance, reiterating his support for law enforcement on the campaign trail and since taking office.
Other Republicans have similarly cautioned against the message, foreseeing dissonance with voters ahead of the midterm elections from a party that has strongly aligned itself as pro-law enforcement.
“I just want to remind my fellow Republicans, we can hold the AG accountable for the decision he made without attacking rank-and-file law enforcement personnel at the FBI,” former Vice President Mike Pence said at an event in New Hampshire Wednesday.
“The Republican Party is the party of law and order. Our party stands with the men and women who serve on the thin blue line at the federal and state and local level and these attacks on the FBI must stop. Calls to defund the FBI are just as wrong as calls to defund the police,” Pence added.
And Rep. Mike Turner, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called statements in support of defunding law enforcement “outrageous.”
The bureau, along with the Department of Homeland Security, also has issued a joint intelligence bulletin warning of “violent threats” against federal law enforcement, courts and government personnel and facilities.
After an attempted attack on an FBI field office last week in Cincinnati, Ohio, Vice President Kamala Harris condemned attacks on law enforcement and similar political rhetoric.
“It’s just highly irresponsible of anyone who calls themselves a leader and certainly anyone who represents the United States of America to engage in rhetoric for the sake of some political objective that can result in harm to law enforcement officers and agents,” she told reporters aboard Air Force Two.
CNN’s Josh Campbell, Jessica Schneider, Donie O’Sullivan, Paul P. Murphy, Priscilla Alvarez, and Alex Rogers contributed to this report.