White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday avoided a question on Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s re-election loss and appeared to blame Republicans in Congress for the surge in crime rates across the country.
During the daily White House press briefing, Jean-Pierre said she was ‘going to withhold commenting’ on the race after being asked by a reporter about concerns over crime rates leading to Lightfoot’s loss.
Jean-Pierre went on to accuse Republicans of taking steps she suggested contributed to rising crime.
‘So let me just first speak to the mayor’s race. What the president is committed to working with whomever the people in Chicago or the people on the ground, whichever, if it’s a city or state, whomever they choose to represent them,’ Jean-Pierre said. ‘So that is the case and will continue to be the case. And so I’m going to withhold commenting on any specific race.’
She touted what she said were President Biden’s accomplishments on addressing rising crime, including calling for the recruitment of more police officers and the call to ban ‘assault weapons’ but accused Republicans of doing ‘the opposite’ despite being sharp critics of Democrats’ crime policies.
‘When you think about the COPS program, which is something that the president put forward, they have wanted to defund that, to take that away. And if you think about that, that leads to defunding the police,’ Jean-Pierre said. ‘Just recently, they called on defunding the FBI. And you think about the border security funding. They want to take that away as well.’
Crime became a central theme in the Chicago race as rates skyrocketed around the city, leading to low approval ratings for Lightfoot.
Voting results showed Lightfoot in a distant third place following Tuesday’s election, meaning she failed to make the April 4 runoff between her top two opponents.