White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany just slammed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) “preposterous” claim that poverty is the cause of New York’s recent violent crime surge.
Violence on the rise
Over the Fourth of July weekend, for example, the New York Police Department (NYPD) reported 44 shootings and at least 8 deaths — a big increase from the previous year. The trend continued this past weekend with the NYPD on Monday reporting 28 shootings, again, compared to just 5 over the same period last year.
What’s the cause? Many have pointed to the policies that have been implemented by New York officials following the anti-police protests over the death of George Floyd — such as the $1 billion NYPD budget cuts. Others have pointed to the state’s decision to release criminals from prison due to concerns about the coronavirus in prisons.
But, Ocasio-Cortez, who, by the way, is a big supporter of the “defund the police” movement, isn’t having either explanation. For her, newfound poverty is the cause.
“Do we think this has to do with the fact that there’s record unemployment in the United States right now?” she said. “The fact that people are at a level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the Great Recession? Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out, and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money, so they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.”
You’re probably wondering how one goes from shoplifting bread to an increase in shootings. So are we and so was McEnany.
McEnany: “That is preposterous”
At Monday’s press briefing, McEnany rebuked Ocasio-Cortez for her claim that poverty is driving the recent uptick in violent crimes.
“You have Rep. Ocasio-Cortez saying, ‘This is just because people are trying to get food for the families.’ That is preposterous,” McEnany said.
“The reality is 63 percent of Americans in this country fear that criticism of our police departments will lead to no public safety in their streets. And 69 percent of black Americans, this is a real issue when you call or police cancer and talk about dismantling them,” she said.
Not the first spat
McEnany and Ocasio-Cortez do have a bit of history, and so some clap back from the congresswoman is probably to be expected.
Ocasio-Cortez, in early June, claimed that McEnany’s “racism” caused her to forget that Ocasio-Cortez is a congresswoman, saying, “[McEnany] wouldn’t be the first person to mistake a women [sic] of color for having a lower position or title than she does. But Kayleigh – in case you haven’t picked up a newspaper in two years, I’m a Congresswoman.”