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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday distanced the Biden administration from recent comments made by progressives Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over their responses to the uptick in organized smash-and-grab robberies in big cities.
Psaki was asked during her daily press briefing by Fox News’ Jacqui Heinrich to weigh in on comments by Ocasio-Cortez, who cast doubt on the existence of mass smash-and-grab robberies, and Lightfoot, who appeared to place part of the blame on retailers for not better protecting their merchandise.
“We don’t agree,” Psaki responded bluntly, adding that the Biden administration has been working with the Justice Department and FBI in providing resources to boost local police departments.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House November 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
“We have seen some of these extremely disturbing videos showing retail theft,” Psaki continued. “State and local leaders like Governor Gavin Newsom have identified this as a serious concern. We agree. That’s the reason why we have sent additional support from the FBI providing additional assistance. It’s one of the reasons why the president and members of our administration have been longtime advocates for supporting and funding the COPS program.”
“I think his record speaks for itself on this,” she added.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Ocasio-Cortez came under fire from Republicans and business owners after she cast doubt on whether rampant smash-and-grabs are actually occurring.
“A lot of these allegations of organized retail theft are not actually panning out,” Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with The Washington Times last week. “I believe it’s a Walgreens in California cited it, but the data didn’t back it up.”
Meanwhile, Lightfoot faced criticism this week after she claimed some retailers are not doing their part to protect their stores.
“I’m disappointed that they’re not doing more to take safety and make it a priority,” she said during a crime summit Monday, WLS reported. “For example, we still have retailers that won’t institute measures like having security officers in their stores, making sure that they’ve got cameras that are actually operational.”