Washington, DC – White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki touted President Joe Biden’s meeting with law enforcement officials on Monday as another step in his plan to get illegal guns off the streets, but the meeting didn’t have much police leadership.
The Associated Press categorized those in attendance as “urban leaders.”
President Biden convened the meeting with Attorney General Merrick Garland, “law enforcement leaders,” and elected officials on July 12 and once again ticked off the same list of gun-control measures he announced on June 23, ABC News reported.
Psaki told reporters at a White House press briefing that the group would discuss President Biden’s “comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence and violent crime.”
The President’s plan included making gun dealers and manufacturers liable for how their products are used, using federal stimulus funds to pay for more police and tax credits to incentivize businesses to hire convicted felons, along with a promise to provide housing and federal jobs for felons.
Invitees to the meeting at the White House included DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Democratic nominee for New York City mayor, Eric Adams, along with two police chiefs, ABC News reported.
But the leadership from national police unions and other law enforcement organizations that actually represent law enforcement officers nationwide was noticeably absent, the Washington Examiner reported.
The highly-publicized crime surge meeting came on the heels of the Biden administration receiving “3 Pinocchios” from The Washington Post for a failed attempted to pin rising crime problems on the GOP.
President Biden’s team was widely mocked for trying to blame defunding the police on Republicans, and claimed the White House had provided crime-plagued cities with crime-fighting funding in the form of pandemic relief funds.
National Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Jonathan Thompson, who wasn’t invited to the meeting, called on President Biden to stop playing politics with law enforcement, the Washington Examiner reported.
“We implore the president to call for an end to the political demagoguery of both parties that is doing more harm than good,” Thompson said. “No responsible leader has called for the defunding of police, and now is the time to admit local law enforcement needs legitimate help. Political promises and complex, punitive legislative remedies that hurt law enforcement rather than help won’t reduce crime.”
“Retirements and departures in the profession are at record levels, and not surprisingly crime has risen in record numbers,” he told the Washington Examiner. “We don’t need legislation that essentially nationalizes law enforcement.”
“By hiding behind ‘strings attached’ funding and burdening communities with outrageous financial settlements that enrich trial lawyers we are at risk of completely undermining the rule of law,” Thompson added.
He said officers across the country felt that their crime-fighting efforts were being hampered by federal, state, and local politicians, the Washington Examiner reported.
“They are subject to foolish, knee-jerk legislative action that will subject them to nearly unlimited personal liability and criminal prosecution just for doing their job,” Thompson explained. “Young people who may otherwise be interested in serving in law enforcement now look elsewhere because police have been widely vilified in our culture, by media organizations, and by elected leaders at all levels. Biden has supported all of this in a number of ways.”
Thompson said he thought President Biden needed to approach law enforcement the same way that former President Ronald Reagan dealt with the U.S. military, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Now more than ever, we need the financial resources to recruit, train, hire, and retain the best and brightest who are sworn to protect us. In the 1970s, the Pentagon faced a qualitative crisis, but the nation invested in its people and built the finest military in the world,” he explained.
“Now it’s time for our federal government to invest in our communities, and let local law enforcement fight this scourge with transparency and fairness,” Thompson added.
Jason Johnson, president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, called out President Biden for simply throwing money at a much more complicated crime problem, the Washington Examiner reported.
“Money isn’t the problem with police recruitment and retention,” Johnson explained. “Cops are leaving because they have been disrespected and disempowered.”
“If he believes that hiring and retaining more cops is necessary — and it is — he should start standing up for the men and women of law enforcement and stop perpetuating lies about this noble profession,” he added.