Primary challenger to ‘Squad’ member Cori Bush blasts her call to defund the police, private security spending

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EXCLUSIVE – The Democratic primary challenger to far-left “Squad” member Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., is calling her out over her defund the police position, as well as the massive amount of money she has spent on private security despite those calls, ahead of the Tuesday election.

In an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, Democratic Missouri state Senator Steve Roberts argued voters in the state’s 1st Congressional District were feeling “buyer’s remorse” for electing Bush and vowed to work across the aisle to support policies that citizens in the district were actually concerned about, including crime.

“[Bush] continues to say that we need to defund the police department. I will tell you, at every community meeting, town hall meeting, meetings with our business leaders, they say the number one issue facing Saint Louis City and County is crime. And no one believes defunding the police is the right solution to that problem,” Roberts said.  

“If anything, we need better police accountability, but more funding for better training. I mean, we’re down over 100 officers that we need in the Saint Louis City Department alone. And to continue this line of defunding the police just causes further division without any real solution to our crime issues in this region,” he added.

Democratic Missouri state Sen. Steve Roberts, who is challenging “Squad” member Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., speaks with Fox News’ Brandon Gillespie during an interview on Thursday, July 28, 2022.
(Brandon Gillespie)


Roberts went on to criticize the “hypocrisy” of Bush spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on her own private security while still calling to defund the police, as well as voting against measures that would protect the Supreme Court and their families.

“You’ve got Congresswoman Bush who spent nearly now half of one million dollars on her own personal security while calling to defund the police, voting against the pay increases for the Capitol Police officers who helped save her life, and the other members of Congress, and then voted against security for our first Black female Supreme Court justice,” he said, referring to recently sworn in Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson.

“I do not understand how someone can say that their justification of spending that much money on their own personal security, but then saying no security for anyone else,” he added. “I believe the annual salary for a Secret Service agent is around $150,000, and she spent more than three times that on her detail while trying to pull it back for anybody else.”

When asked about the likelihood of Republicans winning control of the House of Representatives in November, Roberts said he would work with both sides of the aisle to get legislation passed, and that his service in Congress would not be all about him, something he alluded was not the case when it came to Bush.

Cori Bush attends the “Knock Down The House” Red Carpet Premiere – 2019 SFFILM at Castro Theatre on April 13, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
(Kimberly White/Getty Images for Netflix)


He also touted his time as a Democrat in the Republican-controlled Missouri state legislature as evidence he had the ability to work across the aisle.

“I know what it’s like to operate when the opposing party is greatly outnumbered,” he said. “I believe at the federal level, the numbers will be closer. But it’s more than prepared me in my last six years in the state legislature, and I’ve gotten some of my best legislation passed by working together with folks from across the aisle, finding compromise.”

He went on to criticize Bush’s approach to public service, accusing her of causing harm to the residents by not working with others when she does not get everything she wants.

“When folks voted for Congresswoman Bush two years ago, they weren’t sure what they were getting. And what we’re seeing in the field, hearing on the phones, people are having a lot of buyer’s remorse,” he said. “You’ve got someone who’s not only indifferent to the region but is actually causing real harm to the growth and development of Saint Louis City and Saint Louis County.”

Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., testifies during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing titled Birthing While Black: Examining Americas Black Maternal Health Crisis, in Rayburn Building on Thursday, May 6, 2021. 
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)


“When I get up every day, my focus isn’t going to be my Twitter, my social media account. My focus is going to be in the Capitol, getting the work done like I have been doing at the six years in the state legislature,” he later added. 

“We need to come together, and having an elected official now who has the position of if I don’t get everything that I want, then I don’t want anything to happen at all is just bad for our democracy and doesn’t solve anything,” he said.

Roberts has faced criticism over allegations of sexual assault from two women going back to 2015. He reached settlements with both women, but maintains that he committed no wrongdoing.

Voters will head to the polls to vote in Missouri’s primary elections on August 2nd. 

Brandon Gillespie is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_cg.

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