Fact Check: Jen Psaki Falsely Claims Crime Wave Started with Pandemic

The White House

CLAIM: The ongoing rise in violent crime is due to the pandemic — and began before President Joe Biden took office.

VERDICT: FALSE. Crime fell initially, but rose after the Black Lives Matter protests against police, which Biden supported.

Violent crime rates have been skyrocketing in Democrat-run cities across the nation over the past year, since the death of George Floyd in the custody of police in Minneapolis, Minnesota was followed by Black Lives Matter protest, riots, and calls to “defund the police.”

On Monday, White House Press Secretary dried to dodge a question from Fox News’ Peter Doocy by suggesting, absurdly, that the crime problem was a “gun problem.”

Doocy revisited the issue again on Tuesday.

Psaki’s response was first to play ignorant (“I’m not sure what data you’re looking at”), then to acknowledge that “there’s been a rise in crime over the course of the last year,” but to claim that the rise in crime had been going on “since the start of the pandemic, which actually predates President Biden taking office,” as if it were Trump’s fault and Biden bore no blame for it.

The fact is that crime fell in most places at the start of the pandemic. Criminals, like ordinary people, stayed home for fear of coronavirus; moreover, would-be burglars or home invaders knew that homeowners or residents would be on the premises.

But after May, when law and order broke down in major cities across the nation, and 48 out of 50 major U.S. cities suffered riots, and Democrats began calling to “abolish” or “defund” the police, violent crime skyrocketed. And Biden was part of the problem. Biden’s initial reaction to the rioting and looting was to blame police for escalating tensions. He also supported the idea of “redirecting” funds away from police. He called some rioters “peaceful,” and was slow to speak out against riots.

Crime has continued to rise in major cities, as Democrats and the media continue to press for “police reform” as the major priority. The Biden administration has prioritized criminal justice reform over stopping violent crime. This is a problem that is clearly attributable to the policies of Biden, his party, and the left in general, regardless of Psaki’s falsehoods and evasions.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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