Governor Greg Abbott was in Fort Worth on Wednesday for a campaign event with law enforcement.
After Fort Worth Police Association President Manny Ramirez and Austin Police Association President Thomas Villarreal endorsed Abbott, the Governor touted what he stands for regarding law enforcement.
“I am running for re-election to secure our border, to fully fund our police officers and to ensure that we reform the bail system to keep dangerous criminals behind bars,” said Abbott.
Abbott went after his Democratic opponent in November, former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, labeling him soft on the border and a supporter of defunding the police.
“Beto’s approach to defund the police is an extraordinarily dangerous approach, a deadly approach,” Abbott said.
Abbott’s remarks referred to comments that O’Rourke made about defunding the police during the “Looking Ahead to Beto Days” podcast in June of 2020 after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd.
“I really love that Black Lives Matters and other protesters have put this front and center, to defund, you know these line items that have overmilitarized our police and instead invest that money in the human capital of your community, make sure that you have the services, the help, the support, the health care necessary to be well and not require police intervention,” O’Rourke said on the podcast. “And then also in some necessary cases, completely dismantling those police forces and rebuilding them.”
O’Rourke also said on the podcast he approved of the Minneapolis City Council’s decision to redirect $8 million away from the city’s police budget toward violence prevention and other services.
Abbott’s comments in Fort Worth on Wednesday echo the message of a new ad his campaign launched this week that attacks O’Rourke on his remarks from 2020.
“Across America, there are too many scenes like this. Beto O’Rourke’s answer is to defund and dismantle the police. He wants to punish the police, not the criminals,” Abbott says in the ad. “I support our law enforcement by ensuring that they are fully funded.”
However, O’Rourke has since taken the position that he is not for defunding the police. His campaign’s spokesman, Chris Evans, released a statement in response to Abbott’s campaign ad, saying O’Rourke repeatedly voted to increase the police budget as a member of the El Paso City Council and as a Democratic congressman.
“As governor, Beto will ensure that law enforcement agencies have the resources they need to address violent crime, bring justice to victims, and keep our communities safe,” Evans said. “Beto will also invest more resources in mental health services, social workers, and addiction treatment. “
Evans also claimed Abbott’s ad was heavily edited and misleading and said O’Rourke was speaking only about the Minneapolis police department and not any in Texas.
O’Rourke also defended his record on police funding in an appearance on Lone Star Politics this week.
“Unlike Greg Abbott, I am going to listen to law enforcement they begged him not to sign permitless carry into law,” said O’Rourke.
O’Rourke, who was in Fort Worth last week as part of a 49-city road trip across Texas, also affirmed his stance against defunding the police at a July town hall in Pecos in West Texas.
“I don’t see eye-to-eye with you on defunding the police,” O’Rourke answered an attendee who asked about his position on police funding. “I want to make sure we can count on the police and that means making sure they have the resources and funding they need, the training that they need.”
Gov. Abbott, who after Wednesday now touts the endorsements of 17 law enforcement organizations across the state, said O’Rourke’s changing stance regarding police funding shows he has a credibility problem.
“This is a reoccurring problem that Beto has,” Abbott said. “He says one thing from running for one office and a completely different thing running for a different office.”