White House adviser, Rep. Banks trade jabs over blame in crime spikes

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A top White House adviser and a GOP congressman, Rep. Jim Banks, sparred during separate appearances on a Sunday news show over which party is responsible for the rise in violent crime across the country.

Banks (R-Ind.) said he agrees with President Biden’s last week freeing up COVID relief funds to local governments so the money can be spent on crime fighting.

But he noted that Biden also said in 2002 that having more cops on the beat drives down crime.

“You will not hear Joe Biden say that today, because today Joe Biden is being held hostage in the White House by ‘The Squad’ and the radicals in the Democratic Party who control their party, who have spent the last year stigmatizing one of the most honorable professions in America, in our law enforcement,” Banks told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

He went on to say that the efforts to defund the police, remove qualified immunity for police officers and introduce cashless bail are contributing to the spike in crime –and Democrats are behind those initiatives.

“It’s a recipe that criminals in every city in America are liking what Democrats are selling. And that’s why you’re seeing unprecedented crime waves across America, murder rates this year alone that are higher than anything that we’ve seen before because we’ve taken police officers off the streets,” Banks, the chair of Republican Study Committee, said.  

“And now Joe Biden wants to take guns away from law-abiding gun owners who have guns to protect themselves,” he added.

Meanwhile, Cedric Richmond, an adviser to the president, said GOP lawmakers are the ones who want to defund the police because they refused to back the American Rescue Plan.

Biden last Wednesday said cities and states could use the $350 billion in relief aid that the government began to distribute last month to bolster their police forces.

“We’re now providing more guidance on how they can use the $350 billion… to help reduce crime and address the root causes,” Biden said. “For example, cities experiencing an increase in gun violence are able to use American Rescue Plan dollars to hire police officers needed for community policing and to pay their overtime.”

“When we were in Congress last year trying to pass a rescue plan – I’m sorry, not the rescue plan but an emergency relief plan for cities that were cash-strapped and laying off police and firefighters – it was the Republicans who objected to it,” Richmond told Wallace earlier on “Fox News Sunday.”

“And in fact, they didn’t get funding until the American Rescue Plan, which our plan allowed state and local governments to replenish their police departments and do the other things that are needed,” he said.

“Republicans are very good at staying on talking points of who says defund the police, but the truth is, they defunded the police, we funded crime intervention, and a whole bunch of other things.”

But Wallace pointed out in his interview with Richmond that the NYPD recorded a 53 percent increase in resignations and retirements last year and that 50 of the biggest cities in the US reduced their police budgets this year.

“The president may not support defunding the police, but a lot of these cities are defunding the police,” Wallace asked him.

“I don’t think that you can just make that analysis or draw that conclusion. We were also in the midst of a pandemic where cities were cutting their budgets overall because their cash flow was down,” Ricmond said.

He then raised the assault weapons ban in 1994.

“Crime was down in the ’90s when we banned assault weapons. And so, it’s time to ban assault weapons again. The president supports that, he’s asked Congress to do that,” Ricmond said.

“And you have to look at access to guns when you talk about fighting violent crime. But we do it in a very comprehensive manner. We provide funding for crime intervention. We fund interrupters. We fund — we create funding for — after-school programs, summer jobs programs, recreation programs,” he continued.

Banks discounted the effects of the assault weapons ban on crime.

“Well, remember, Chris, that in 1994 when Joe Biden ushered through the so-called assault weapons ban, later the Department of Justice came out and said it did nothing to decrease violent crime. We know that 75 percent of gun crimes are committed with guns that are illegally obtained to begin with,” Banks told Wallace. 

“So what I’m saying is that if we are serious about reducing violent crime in America, then Joe Biden will go on a national public relations campaign, admonish the radical voices in the Democratic Party that have stigmatized police officers and law enforcement,” he said.

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