President Joe Biden said voters had given politicians a clear order in Tuesday night’s ballots: It is time to act on crime and gun violence.
He spoke to reporters on Wednesday before boarding Air Force One to fly to California, stumbling on the steps as he did so.
He left after two closely watched votes in California showed how voters were prioritizing rising crime – in San Francisco, where the city’s liberal district attorney was recalled and in Los Angeles were a tough-on-crime Republican finished ahead of a progressive Democrat in the race to be mayor.
‘The voters sent a clear message last night,’ said Biden.
‘Both parties have to step up and do something about crime as well as gun violence.’
He added that states and cities must hire more officers and reform police departments.
‘The first major bill we passed … we gave the states and localities billions of dollars, billions of dollars and then encouraged them to use it to hire police officers and reform the police department,’ he said.
‘Very few have done it.’
President Joe Biden spoke to reporters before climbing the steps to Air Force One and a flight to California where he is hosting the Summit of the Americas
Gabriella Uriegas, a soccer teammate of Tess Mata who died in the shooting, cries while holding her mother Geneva Uriegas as they visit a makeshift memorial outside the Uvalde County Courthouse in Texas
The results pose a challenge to Biden’s party, which has focused on criminal justice reform in recent years.
The president added that he had sent to Congress a request for $300 million in the budget to hire and train officers.
‘It’s time they move. It’s time states and the localities spend the money they have to deal with crime, as well as retrain police officers, as well as provide for more community policing,’ he said.
It comes as the nation once again considers how to prevent mass shootings, after 19 children and two teachers were shot dead at a school in Uvalde, Texas.
A University of Berkeley poll in April found that crime and lawlessness were now voters’ number one concern in California, putting the issue ahead of race relations, healthcare and the pandemic.
In San Francisco, that meant the removal of DA Chesa Boudin, who was accused of being soft on crime.
‘The right-wing billionaires outspent us three to one,’ he said in a defiant speech to supporters following news of the recall results, which saw more than 60 percent of San Franciscans vote to recall him.
Boudin, 41, went on to assert that citizens had been ‘exploited’ by these groups, saying they ‘took advantage an environment in which people are appropriately upset.’
‘They created an electoral dynamic where we were literally shadowboxing,’ Boudin, who narrowly won office in November 2019 as part of a wave of woke prosecutors who vowed to seek alternatives to incarceration, said.
San Francisco voters on Tuesday recalled the district attorney, Chesa Boudin, a progressive Democrat, in a nationally watched test of frustrations over rising crime and gun violence
Homelessness has been a major issue in the race to be mayor of Los Angeles
The recall campaign against Boudin, which was funded mainly by local business groups, accused the attorney of not doing enough to keep citizens safe, and introducing policies that allowed repeat offenders to commit crimes without fear of incarceration.
Mayor London Breed was frequently critical of Boudin and is expected to replace him with a tougher interim DA before an election is held.
Republicans believe they can use anxiety about crime across the country to help them seize control of the U.S. Congress in November’s midterm elections.
They are already running TV ads highlighting that the nation’s leaders must get tougher.
In Los Angeles, a pro-business billionaire Republican-turned-Democrat, running on a platform to increase numbers, was leading the city’s mayoral primary.
Rick Caruso, who has spent more than $30 million of his own money, was leading Democrat Karen Bass, on the progressive wing of the party, with 42 percent of the vote to 37 percent with about 59 percent of the vote counted.
San Francisco’s woke DA: A former public defender whose parents spent decades in prison over an armed robbery that left a cop dead
Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert, Chesa Boudin’s radical leftist parents, spent decades in prison after taking part in a botched armored vehicle robbery that left three dead
Chesa Boudin, a progressive Democrat, entered the San Francisco district attorney’s race as an underdog, running on a platform of ending mass incarceration and addressing racial disparities in law enforcement, and won by fewer than 3,000 ballots. Voters were taken by his unusual life story, which lends insight into his view on the criminal justice and prison system.
When Boudin was just one year old in 1981, his parents, who were members of the far-left Weather Underground, dropped him off with a babysitter and took part in an armored car robbery in upstate New York that left two police officers and a security guard dead.
His mother, Kathy Boudin, served 22 years behind bars and his father, David Gilbert, was jailed for life – until outgoing NY Governor Andrew Cuomo commuted his sentence for murder in August.
They didn’t fire shots that day and the victims were killed by the Black Liberation Army.
Boudin was cared for by members of a radical left-wing group and says his experiences of visiting his parents in jail galvanized his progressive views on law and order.
Gilbert and other former members of the Weather Underground, a militant group that grew out of the anti-Vietnam War movement, had joined with members of the Black Liberation Army in the October 20, 1981, robbery.
They stole $1.6 million in cash from an armored car outside the Nanuet Mall near the Hudson River community of Nyack.
Brink’s guard Peter Paige and two Nyack police officers, Sergeant Edward O’Grady and Officer Waverly Brown, were killed in the holdup and ensuing shootout at a nearby roadblock.
Though unarmed, Gilbert was charged with robbery and murder, since people were killed during the crime. Also charged was Chesa Boudin´s mother, Kathy Boudin. The boy was 14 months old when his parents were imprisoned.
Boudin was raised by his parents´ Weather Underground compatriots, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.