Fox News' Peter Doocy grilled Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki during the White House press conference Tuesday over the rise in violent crime across the country in the last year as well as comments made by St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones claiming that "more police doesn't prevent crime."
"The rise in violent crime compared to this time last year: homicide is up 113 percent in Minneapolis, it's up 38 percent in Philly, up 22 percent in Chicago," said Doocy. "Just to clarify, the White House's position on this is that it's mostly because of guns?"
Psaki responded by pushing the blame on the previous Trump administration.
"Well first, I'm not sure what data you're looking at but I think what we can, most data that is out there shows that there's actually been a rise in crime over the course of the last year, since the start of the pandemic which actually predates President Biden taking office to be totally clear," said Psaki.
Doocy interjected by stating, "but he is president right now."
In response, Psaki cited Biden's request for job funding in the American Jobs Plan, $300 million of which she states went to "invigorate community policing."
"You're right Peter, and that's why we're focused on solutions here, and that's why we proposed putting, we put $5 billion in the American Jobs Plan to help address community violent intervention programs, to help fund them," said Psaki. "That's also why we fought for funding for state and local governments in the rescue plan. Something many opposed. There was a lot of Republican opposition to that."
"That helps keep cops on the beat and other public servants in vital roles, and it's why his budget proposes to increase funding for the cops program by $300 million to invigorate community policing," Psaki continued. "We believe there needs to be funding. We believe there needs to be, we need help from the federal government [to] ensure community policing and local police have the assistance they need."
"The Mayor of St. Louis says that she believes more police does not prevent crime. Does President Biden agree with that?" asked Doocy.
Jones, who became the city's first black female mayor last month, made the controversial comment to the Telegraph after announcing she wants to reallocate $4 million from the police budget that would go towards social programs like the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Victim Support Services, increasing the capacity of the Department of Health & Human Services, and "affirmative litigation."
The proposal would also cut almost 100 vacant police positions and would provide zero funding for the city's medium-security jail known as "The Workhouse."
Psaki stated that while a number of steps need to be taken to rebuild trust, there would be no shortage of funding for local programs and initiatives.
"The President believes there's a number of steps that need to be taken to rebuild trust in communities. Police reform is long outdated," said Psaki. "He also believes that there needs to be funding for local programs and local initiatives, and there's not going to be a shortage of funding under our watch."