White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden's plan to address the rise in violent crime won't derail ongoing Senate negotiations of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
'He does not feel like they are conflicting,' she said of the president. 'And I don't think you've heard from any of the negotiators on the Hill that they feel they are conflicting either,' Psaki said at Tuesday press briefing.
On Wednesday, Biden plans to spend the afternoon speaking to stakeholders and then will give a speech on crime, which the White House argues has been 'driven by gun violence' in a number of major cities.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden addressing violent crime won't derail negotiations over a key police reform bill
Family members of the victims and neighbors gather at the scene of a fatal shooting Monday i St. Louis
At the briefing, Fox News' Peter Doocy challenged that thinking, pointing to an uptick in gun-less crimes including carjackings, robberies and rapes.
'Well, first I think if you look at a number of cities across the country it is actually driven by gun violence,' Psaki answered.
She noted that this year in St. Louis, 96 per cent of homicides where the instrument was known it was a gun.
Psaki also said shooting incidents in New York were up 70 per cent.
'There are major cities across the country where gun violence is absolutely the driver, where it is absolutely increasing and that will be a central part of what we'll talk about when he delivers his remarks tomorrow,' she said.
The press secretary also spread out the blame to the last administration, noting how violent crime has been on the rise over the last 18 months - throughout the whole of the coronavirus pandemic.
'And actually if you look statistically back, it's more over the last five years or so,' Psaki also said - meaning the entirety of former President Donald Trump's one term in office.
Psaki again and again said Biden was for 'community policing,' where police officers patrol areas they're familiar with.
Doocy then asked why morale in police departments is currently low.
'I don't think we're the right entity to give an assessment of that, I'd certainly look to police departments to get that assessment, but I would say to you is, the president has never supported defunding the police,' Psaki answered. 'He's always supported community policing programs.'