May 22, 2022 3:38 am

Biden hardens in New York, shaken by violence, his message against crime

Correspondent in New York



Joe Biden traveled to New York this Thursday with the aim of resetting the counter to zero in its message and in its policies on fighting violent crime. The US president has not been able to project a forceful image in this regard so far, after two years of social upheaval and demands for radical police reforms after the death of George Floyd and amid fierce clashes within his party over it. Today he sought to pivot hand in hand with a rising star of the Democratic Party: Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York.

Biden has a ‘soft’ label with crime, despite the fact that during his political career he stood out as a moderate Democrat, close to the police forces and who promoted harsh criminal justice legislation -for some he had to apologize as a candidate for the presidency – in his long career in the Senate.

Several factors converge in the success of the label: the wave of violence that has shaken the country since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic -during which arms sales skyrocketed-, the proclamations in favor of ‘abolition’ or ‘cuts’ to the police who defended part of his party in the aftermath of Floyd’s death and the scourge of the conservative media, which always portray him as a captive of the radical positions of Democratic leftists.

The president sought to shake all this off with an announcement of a new strategy on crime and with an express rejection of those proposals defended by part of his party. «We are not interested in cutting, we are interested in financing», he said in reference to the proclamations of the protests and his current proposal: increase the items to increase the number of agents, prevention programs or prosecution of illegal arms trafficking.

Biden presented his plan in a setting of great symbolism: the headquarters of the New York Police Department, a huge and ugly building in Lower Manhattan that a president has not set foot in since Barack Obama in 2011.

The wave of violence is not something exclusive to New York – in fact, there are other large cities that have been hit harder in recent years – but what is profitable for Biden is the man who is now in charge.

Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain, upset last year’s Democratic primary for his tough-on-crime message. Now it represents a position on fighting violence –combines defense of public security and reforms in the police forces to prevent abuses – which is supported by a large part of the electorate. And to which the president of the United States, sunk in the polls – little more than a third of Americans approve of him in the fight against crime – sought this Thursday to adhere

Take illegal guns off the streets

“We are united to end the gun violence that has rocked this city and this country, to protect our people and the police officers who are sworn to protect us, and to restore the American dream of security, stability and prosperity,” Adams said with a forcefulness that many would like to find in Biden.

Biden reviewed his plan to remove illegal weapons from American streets – which he already presented last June – and invited local entities in the US to use federal funds from the latest rescue plan for, among other things, “Hire more police officers, increase community policing, pay officers overtime, and buy technology to detect shootings.”

Before his trip to New York, the White House instructed federal prosecutors to increase resources to combat gun violence at the local level and directed the Justice Department to pursue ‘ghost guns‘, which are assembled in parts and are outside of federal regulation.

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