McEnany falsely links 'defund the police' movement with spike in murders

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The White House press secretary also ignored questions about the 17-year-old who shot and killed two people in Kenosha last week.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany blamed Democrats on Monday for violence occurring on Donald Trump's watch, claiming falsely that the "defund the police" movement had led to an increase in murder.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a similar claim in July, but there is no evidence to back up that assertion. In cities that have made moves to shift some funding away from police departments, most of the changes have not yet taken effect.

As BBC News noted earlier in August, though a handful of states, such as New York and Chicago, have seen a rise in murders this year, other types of crime have fallen, including rapes and robberies. In most states, murder rates are actually down from 2019.

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None of the spikes have been linked to the "defund the police" movement specifically.

Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, also told CNN earlier this year that any spike in violent crime this year could be "reasonably" linked to states relaxing stay-at-home orders put in place to slow the coronavirus outbreak, as well as widespread unrest and clashes amid protests across the country.

During the press conference, McEnany notably refused to address multiple people killed by a far-right extremist in Kenosha last week. She did mention a man shot in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend, whom she identified as a "Trump supporter."

The man has since been identified as a member of the far-right extremist group Patriot Prayer.

From a White House briefing on Aug. 31, 2020:

KAYLEIGH MCENANY: No one wants to see the violence we have seen in our cities. Where after two years of coming down under President Trump, in Portland, you have a 650% increase in murders. In Seattle, you had the first eight months total of murders almost surpassing the entire amount in 2019.

 

And this is because of the 'defund the police' movement. This is because of the criticism of our police officers and the drawing down of funds for these officers.

 

No one wants to see this, which is why the president is fighting against that movement and it's why h's fighting for a robust Operation Legend response that's proved successful so far.

...

 

REPORTER: What is the president's position on victims, families, businesses — as a result of these riots — suing Democrat-run cities? Would he support them if they were to band together and do so?

 

MCENANY: I have not spoken to him about that specifically, but certainly what you're are seeing: It is Democrat cities where all of these numbers increase. When you look at... Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York City. These have all seen anywhere from a 33% spike in the murder rate to a 277% increase in one month alone in New York City. It's appalling. And it is Democratic governors and mayors and lawlessness that they're allowed to prevail.

 

When federal forces come in, the situation changes. And it's so interesting to me to see Democrats, who once ignored the violence, all of a sudden caring about it.

 

But let's not forget what they said previously. Speaker Nancy Pelosi downplaying the violence rocking U.S. cities, ignorantly saying that 'people will do what they do.'

 

Jerry Nadler, when asked about antifa, he said that was a myth that is being spread around Washington, D.C. It's not a myth. In fact, and antifa individual took the life of an innocent Trump supporter in Portland.

 

You have Rep. Ayanna Pressley saying that she wanted unrest in the streets. Chris Cuomo saying show me where it says protesters are supposed to be peaceful. I will give you an idea, Chris: It's the constitution. Don Lemon saying, 'the rioting has to stop, Chris, as you know and I know it is showing up in the polls, it's showing up in the focus groups. It's the only thing right now that is sticking.'

 

Now, all of a sudden, 90 days later — I from this podium have talked about law and order. The president has talked about law and order repeatedly. But because the polling has shifted, now it's time for the Democrats to deny what they said previously and all of a sudden focus on law and order.

 

I'll leave you with this: That's like the arsonist of blaming the firefighter.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.