Despite Promise, Biden Won’t Have a National Commission on Policing After All

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Joe Biden, speaking in Kenosha, Wisconsin, September 3: “If I get elected president, I promise you there will be a national commission on policing out of the White House where I’ll bring everyone to the table, including police chiefs, including civil rights activists, including the NAACP, including the African, the Latino community. We’re going to sit down there and we’re going to work it out.”

Jen Psaki, today:

MS. PSAKI: In terms of the police commission, we have been in very close contact over the course of several months — back to the transition — with both civil rights activists, with law enforcement authorities and the law enforcement community about what would be most effective moving forward.

And as Dr. Rice conveyed — or I think the statement we put out, I should say, conveyed, we have made a decision, in coordination, that the best path forward is to work to the past — to pass the George Floyd Policing Act; that that has a great deal of the content of the policy changes, of the necessary reforms that we would all like to see in place. So that was a collective decision, and that’s where our focus will be.

Q And is this a delay, or do you expect it to just not go forward at all?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we expect, for the time being, for our focus to be on moving the legislation forward and not on the policing commission.

As far as presidential promises go, this isn’t the biggest or most consequential one; as noted Friday, most commissions have little or no impact on policy. But it is a good reminder that most presidential candidates have a habit of promising anything and everything when running, with little or no commitment to follow through once they’re elected.