In fact, Democratic Senate candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock said the opposite of what Ernst claimed they did.
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa stumped for the GOP's Georgia Senate candidates at a Monday rally by repeating false claims about the Democratic candidates' positions on police reform.
Incumbent Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are running against Democrats Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, respectively, in a crucial Jan. 5 runoff that will determine what political party controls the Senate.
At her appearance in Griffin, Georgia, Ernst said: "How many of you here support the men and women in blue? God bless you for that. So while the left and the opponents of David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are busy trying to defund the police, David is defending the police."
Her comments are part of a hyperpartisan effort to misleadingly paint the Democratic candidates as extreme, radical "socialists," attacks Perdue and Loeffler continually employ, and part of the GOP senators' pattern of making up ugly smears against their opponents.
Neither Ossoff nor Warnock has said they want to "defund the police," and both actually oppose such a policy.
Some of those repeated false claims include what a Loeffler spokesman told the Washington Examiner: "Raphael Warnock has a history of attacking our police officers, calling them gangsters, thugs, bullies, and a threat to our children, so it's disgusting — but not surprising — that he now wants to defund them and make every Georgia family, community, and neighborhood less safe."
Pushing back against the statements from Loeffler's campaign, Warner's campaign told the outlet, "Rev. Warnock does not support defunding the police," adding that the pastor has praised "our men and women in uniform" in the past.
Another Loeffler campaign ad attacked Warnock for being "too extreme for Georgia" and wanting "to make your neighborhoods less safe."
As the Atlanta Journal-Consitution noted, Warnock instead called for "responsibly fund(ing) law enforcement."
"We need to reimagine policing and reimagine the relationships between law enforcement and communities," the reverend, who preaches at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once did, said during the summer.
Warnock, who grew up in Savannah, Georgia, continued, "We certainly need to demilitarize the police so we can rebuild the trust between the police and the community."
Meanwhile, Perdue's campaign ads are attempting to cast his opponent, Ossoff, as a radical, including one ad that says that the Democratic candidate will join forces with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to "defund police."
But the Democratic candidate has said multiple times that he is not on board with a "defund the police" policy.
"No, the answer is not to defund police," Ossoff told WSB radio in June when speaking on the issue. "The answer is to reform police. And the answer is to demilitarize police. Far too many local police departments are heavily equipped with armored vehicles and military equipment, and when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."
Three months later on SiriusXM radio, the Democratic candidate reiterated his point: "I oppose defunding the police and I think frankly, it's a counterproductive and foolish way of characterizing what I think for some folks is a desire to reform police."
Perdue seized on a part of a quote from Ossoff in June to attack him.
In an interview on WAOK, Ossof said, "You have to have national standards for the use of force, and yeah, you've got to be able to hold individual officers and entire departments accountable, and there also has to be funding for those departments on the line."
Throughout Perdue's campaign, he used police "funding must be on the line" against Ossoff, with one tweet saying "Jon @Ossoff supports the dangerous defund the police movement."
But Ossoff's campaign has clarified that he had been referring to "supplemental police funding," Factcheck.org noted.
Right now, Republicans have 50 seats and Democrats have 48 seats in the U.S. Senate. In order to take the chamber, Democrats would have to win both Senate races in Georgia. If Democrats succeed, the two parties would be at a 50-50, with Democratic Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris serving as a Senate tie-breaker.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.