On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dismissed questions about a recent video in which she mocks a Fox News discussion on the impact of “soft-on-crime” policies.
In the video, Psaki pointed out the fact that while MSNBC and CNN were covering the Biden administration’s response to a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, Fox News had a segment discussing the recent surge in violent crime that came as a result of “soft-on-crime” policies – including 2021 having the highest increase in homicide rates in nearly 30 years.
“What does that even mean, right?” Psaki asked while laughing. “So there’s an alternative universe on some coverage. What’s scary about it is a lot of people watch that.”
Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich asked Psaki about her comments during Monday’s press briefing.
“I would encourage anyone to listen to the full context of the interview and the conversation,” Psaki said. “What I was speaking to was a chyron on Fox News, since you raised it, which suggested this administration is soft on crime with no basis, given we have had many conversations and back and forth with you and your colleagues about the prioritization of the president to ensure that we are working as close partners with leaders, whether it is [New York City] Mayor [Eric] Adams, who he’s going to spend the day with on Thursday, or others in the country, and the facts speak for themselves. This is what I was talking about in the interview for the full context.”
Psaki went on to claim that the American Rescue Plan had included additional funding for police – a similar claim has previously earned Psaki “Three Pinocchios” by fact-checkers at The Washington Post – and argued that Democrat President Joe Biden had pushed for greater increases in police funding than former President Donald Trump.
Biden’s American Rescue Plan includes $350 billion that may be used to “respond to the covid-19 emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality; provide premium pay to essential workers or provide grants to employers of essential workers during the covid-19 emergency; provide government services to the extent of the reduction in revenue of such state, territory, or tribal government due to the covid-19 emergency; or make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.”
As explained by The Washington Post, “Police officers are one category of essential workers covered by the law, but they are not mentioned specifically like ‘impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality’ or ‘water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure.’ …The American Rescue Plan devoted $350 billion to ‘state and local aid,’ a pot of money that was designed for a variety of budget-plugging purposes. Among those is keeping police, teachers and emergency medical technicians at work, but going strictly by the bill text, lawmakers had no guarantee that police would get a slice of the pie.”