It's COVID-19 and guns, not President Joe Biden's policies, that are causing widespread looting and soaring crime rates, the White House insisted Thursday.
Biden believes the crime increase is correlated to the frustration and economic hardship caused by COVID-19, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki. She also attributed the new data to gun prevalence.
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"Many people have conveyed that," she told reporters Thursday of the crime-pandemic link. "And one of the root causes of crime in communities is guns and gun violence. We've seen that statistically around the country."
Psaki was pressed on whether a number of high-profile shoplifting incidents across the country were really due to the pandemic rather than lax law enforcement.
"When a huge group of criminals organizes themselves and they want to go loot a store, a CVS, a Nordstrom, a Home Depot until the shelves are clean, you think that's because of the pandemic?" Fox News's Peter Doocy asked Psaki.
"I think a root cause in a lot of communities is the pandemic," she replied.
Biden proposed community policing program investments in his 2022 budget despite far-left Democrats calling on him to "defund" law enforcement agencies, according to Psaki. Biden wants to "keep cops on the beat," ensuring they collaborate with the communities they serve "to crack down on crime," she said.
"We've also worked with a range of communities across the country on strike forces," she added. "We're continuing to implement that from the Department of Justice."
Biden is due to announce his pandemic winter strategy later Thursday at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. Psaki detailed that no decisions had been made regarding vaccine mandates for children.
"Our campaign is actually focused on getting anyone eligible boosted, and that's anyone over 18 at this time," she said.
Psaki, too, defended Biden's southern African travel bans, introduced to halt the spread of the omicron variant.
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"None of these are meant to be permanent. None is meant to be a punishment," she said.