McCarthy slams Biden for failing to condemn 'soft-on-crime' Dems during NYC trip, calls for GOP House majority

Biden to push anti-gun measures in New York City

President Biden visits New York City amid citywide crime surge; Fox News correspondent Bryan Llenas reports on the latest.

EXCLUSIVE: House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy slammed President Biden for failing to publicly condemn “soft-on-crime” politicians during his visit to New York City Thursday, and urged Americans to “entrust” Republicans with the majority of the House of Representatives in November so that they can focus on “getting criminals off the streets.”

Biden, with Attorney General Merrick Garland, traveled to New York City and met with Mayor Eric Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul at the New York Police Department Headquarters to discuss ways to coordinate federal, state, and local resources to combat violent crime.

Following Biden’s remarks, which focused on gun control and providing additional funding to law enforcement, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told Fox News the Biden administration has embraced “soft-on-crime” policies.

“Soft-on-crime politicians are destroying our country. Both President Biden and VP Harris have indulged the soft-on-crime far left for political gain, helping create a climate hostile to law enforcement,” McCarthy said. “It has been an absolute disaster.”

“Now, Biden lacks the courage to condemn a far-left prosecutor in New York City who refuses to prosecute crime, downgrades felony charges for crimes like armed robbery, and releases criminals on low bail,” McCarthy said, referring to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

McCarthy told Fox News that, instead, Biden “poses for photos and tries to divert attention to gun control, as if guns shoot themselves.”

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 27: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks at a press conference at the Capitol building on August 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. Leader McCarthy said he wants House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to call Congress back in session and to take up legislation that would prevent President Biden from withdrawing troops until every U.S. Citizen is out of Afghanistan.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“If Americans entrust House Republicans with the majority, we will focus on getting criminals off the streets, not invite them to break the law with impunity,” McCarthy told Fox News.

McCarthy was referring to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The president on Thursday did not address Bragg or his controversial memo released last month which called for Manhattan prosecutors to look for alternatives to prison sentences for criminals convicted of several kinds of offenses, and “reduce pretrial incarceration,” unless for “very serious cases.”

Bragg’s memo also directed his office not to prosecute offenders accused of the following crimes, barring extenuating circumstances: turnstile jumping, resisting arrest, trespassing, and driving without a license, among others. 

In a different example in the memo, Bragg directed prosecutors to reduce armed robbery cases to petit larcenies, barring certain circumstances. 

District attorney candidate Alvin Bragg speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally at A. Philip Randolph Square in Harlem on November 01, 2021, in New York City. 
((Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images))

But Bragg, last month, said his memo left “the wrong impression” about his law enforcement policy plans, and said it “left many New Yorkers justifiably concerned,” adding that the memo was meant, more so, as guidance for his staff. 

“The purpose of the memo is to provide prosecutors with a framework for how to approach cases in the best interest of safety and justice. Each case is fact specific,” he said.  

Last week, Hochul met with Bragg to discuss the escalating crime crisis in New York City and Bragg’s approach to prosecuting crime, as he faced sustained criticism over the memo’s priorities, which many regard as soft on crime. 

Bragg is one of many Democratic district attorneys around the country who have announced or enacted policies critics say amount to decriminalizing many violations and favoring offenders over victims. 

The governor, before meeting with Bragg, warned that she had “options” to deal with him, who initially caused controversy by calling for prosecutors to find alternatives to prison sentences for criminals.

“I know full well the powers that the governor has — I’ll be having a conversation very shortly to convey, to let him tell me what his plans are and make sure that we’re all in alignment,” Hochul said ahead of the meeting.

Meanwhile, during remarks in New York City Thursday, Biden addressed the surge in gun-related crime across the United States.

“Every day in this country, 316 people are shot, 106 killed, there have been six NYPD victims of gun violence so far just this year,” Biden said.

“Enough is enough because we know we can do things about this,” Biden said. “You know, Mayor Adams, you and I agree.”

“The answer is not to abandon our streets. That’s not the answer,” Biden continued. “The answer is to come together, police and communities building trust and making us all safer.”

He added: “The answer is not to defund the police. It is to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors.”

Biden doubled down on that point, noting that they are “not about defunding.” 

“We’re about funding and providing the additional services you need beyond someone with a gun strapped to their shoulder,” Biden said. “We need more social workers, mental health workers. We need more people who, when you’re called on these scenes and someone is about to jump off a roof, it’s not just someone standing with a weapon – it is someone who also knows how to talk to people, talk them down.”

Biden said that government officials “can’t expect” police officers “to do every single solitary thing.”

“It needs to be done to keep a community safe, it’s time to find community policing to protect and serve the community,” Biden said.

The president on Thursday also called on Congress to pass legislation that includes universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and to repeal the liability shield for gun manufacturers. 

“I will keep doing everything I can to make our communities safer,” Biden tweeted. “But Congress needs to do its part.” 

The president’s trip to New York City on Thursday came shortly after thousands of uniformed police officers from across the nation traveled to Manhattan to pay their respects to fallen NYPD Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, who were shot and killed while responding to a domestic violence call last month.

Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report. 

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