The National Fraternal Order of Police, the largest law enforcement advocacy organization in the country, accused White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday of mocking Americans’ concerns about the rising crime rate.
The president of the group, Patrick Yoes, wrote in a statement: “I think it’s wrong – very wrong – for Ms. Psaki to suggest that violent crime in our country is of no concern or to just laugh it off.”
“She may feel safe in the White House, one of the most protected buildings in the United States, but not everyone feels safe in their workplace. The world we find ourselves in is dangerous and increasingly more so. Tens of thousands of people have been the victims of crime this month alone and some of them never made it back home,” he said.
During a recent appearance on the Pod Save America podcast, Psaki seemed perplexed that some pundits and Americans are preoccupied with spiking crime.
Referencing how right-wing news anchors have repeatedly brought up the topic, Psaki giggled, “And then on Fox is Jeanine Pirro talking about ‘soft-on-crime consequences.’ I mean, what does that even mean? Right, so there’s an alternate universe on some coverage. What’s scary about it is a lot of people watch that.”
Jen Psaki mocks people discussing the “consequences” of “soft-on-crime” policies: “What does that even mean?” pic.twitter.com/C1KEnXVIQI
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) January 31, 2022
During a press briefing Monday, Fox News reporter Jacqui Hendrich gave Psaki an opportunity to clarify her comments. Psaki said her words were taken out of context and that she was rebutting accusations that the Biden administration is “soft-on-crime.” She mentioned that President Biden is meeting with relevant leaders, such as New York City Mayor Eric Adams, to work on the issue.
“In the American Rescue Plan, there was additional funding to support local cops programs, something that every single Republican voted against. I said in that interview that I know they don’t like it when we call that out. I’m going to keep calling that out because that’s a fact,” she said.
However, while Psaki keeps repeating the claim that the GOP voted to withhold funding from the police, Washington Post fact-checkers debunked that assertion in July, rating it “mostly false” with “three pinnochios,” as they found “significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions.”
The Post pointed out that before the package went to a vote, Republican legislators received no definitive confirmation from Democrats that the $350 billion of ‘state and local aid’ allocated in the plan would be funneled to police departments. “…lawmakers had no guarantee that police would get a slice of the pie,” the fact-checker wrote.
“The president has been a long-time advocate of addressing crime. He’s never been for defunding the police. Our Department of Justice has put in place support for strike forces. And the other fact that is never talked about in these Fox packages is the fact that gun crime is a major driver of crime across the country,” Psaki asserted Monday.
In January alone, 28 law enforcement officers died in the line-of-duty, the FOP noted. That included 22-year-old cop Jason Rivera and 27-year-old cop Wilbert Mora, who were gunned down in a Harlem apartment a couple of weeks ago while responding to a domestic disturbance call.
Yoes, like many other officers, attributed the crime surge to flawed bail laws and other policies pursued by progressive prosecutors that have weakened or eliminated sentences for many offenses.
For example, Manhattan’s new progressive district attorney sent a memo to staff earlier this month calling for the “decriminalization/non prosecution” of crimes including trespassing, resisting arrest, interfering with an arrest and prostitution. He later walked back the memo, apologizing and taking “full accountability” for the “confusion caused.”
“There are many reasons for this escalating violence in many of our communities, and one of them agenda-driven prosecutors who have gone rogue. Many of them are refusing to bring charges against so-called ‘low-level’ or ‘non-violent’ offenders. Under their leadership, which has been abhorrent in many cases, many violent offenders don’t stay in jail- they’re back on the streets and free to commit more crimes,” Yoes added.
He referenced the solemn words of Rivera’s widow at her husband’s funeral last Friday, where she said: “The system continues to fail us. We are not safe anymore, not even members of the service.”
“These are stark words, but they are nonetheless true,” Yoes said. Pretending violent crimes are part of some other reality will not help victims. Ms. Psaki owes them an apology.”