Napolitano: For Trump to run as ‘law and order candidate’ would be like ‘me saying I play in the NBA’

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Former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said former President Trump saying he is the “law and order” candidate would be like her saying she plays in the NBA.

“So, first of all, for former President Trump to run as a so-called law and order candidate, it would be like me saying I play in the NBA. I mean, it just… just doesn’t hold true,” she said Sunday on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.”

Host Jen Psaki had asked Napolitano what her response was to Trump’s repeated claims that crime is “worse than ever” in the U.S. Psaki noted that crime is down in most places in the U.S., but that it is up in some cities including Washington, D.C. Napolitano, who served in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2013, pushed back on the idea that crime has jumped during President Biden’s time in the White House. 

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“So look, there was a terrific spike in violent crime, really, during the end of the Trump presidency, when we were in the midst of the COVID pandemic. But since then, crime has been coming down in some years dramatically. So last year, 2023 saw the largest one year decrease in violent crime nationwide than we’ve had since around 1960,” she said.

“And so, to say, we are awash in violent crime that it’s going up, et cetera, et cetera. Look, never let the facts get in the way of rhetoric, I guess. But the facts are the facts,” she said. 

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FBI data released last month showed that violent crime in the U.S. continued to decrease in 2023 following a pandemic-era spike. President Biden touted the statistics at the time, saying that he will continue to work to keep communities safe.

Psaki then asked Napolitano on her thoughts on Republicans using violent incidents, like the death of student Laken Riley, as “evidence that migrant crime is a major driver of crime.” The suspect in Riley’s death is Jose Ibarra, a Venezuelan citizen who entered the U.S. illegally in 2022, according to police.

“So look, making an overall argument about crime from one terrible case. And it was it’s a terrible case, and my heart goes out to the family and to the friends of the victim. But to make an overall national argument that we are watching violent crime caused by migrants, again, just doesn’t comply with the facts,” Napolitano said.

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The Hill has reached out to Trump’s campaign for comment.

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