Jim Jordan’s ‘crime’ hearings in New York ignore the real crimes
Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., right, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee Field Hearing, Monday, April 17, 2023, in New York. Republicans upset with former President Donald Trump's indictment are escalating their war on Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg who charged him, trying to embarrass him on his home turf. | John Minchillo/AP

The Republican-organized sham “hearings” on crime in New York City, called to detract attention from the real criminal, Donald Trump, under indictment in that city, reached the level of the surreal yesterday.

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of upstate New York opined about how the people of the nation’s biggest city are “afraid to leave their homes” while their government allegedly “defunds the police.”

She had absolutely no regard for facts which are that the city of New York is the safest major city in America, having experienced large drops in crime rates across the board over the past year including in homicides, burglaries, and assaults on the streets. The police budget, rather than having been “defunded” over the past year, has actually increased slightly.

Like the presentations of her Republican colleagues at the hearing, Stefanik’s impassioned “plea” for the people of the city was nothing more than a pile of lies designed to detract attention from the real crimes of her criminal leader, Donald Trump, currently under indictment in New York by Alvin Bragg.

The leader of the hearings, Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, would be better advised to look at crime closer to his home district in Ohio. Columbus, Ohio, for example, has three times the per capita crime rate as New York City, and this when the state of Ohio is run by Republicans, not Democrats who are supposed to be “soft” on crime.

Democrats did not let the Republicans off the hook for their stunt of holding hearings in New York to detract attention from the prosecutorial activity of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat.

They made it clear that Jordan’s “hearings” were nothing more than a failed attempt to help Trump who faces real criminal charges in New York.

Jordan was embarrassed by repeated attacks on Republican hypocrisy that came from the audience and even came from many of the witnesses who were invited to “testify.”

Opening with a lie

The lie of Jordan’s opening statement, that “Today’s hearing is about the administration of justice and keeping communities safe, something that has always been a central focus of the House Judiciary Committee” was exposed throughout the hearings.

He falsely accused Bragg of having a “radical political agenda” rather than the intent to reduce crime in the city, which has gone down under the tenure of the district attorney.

Democrats did not hold back on stating what they thought about the hearing. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., made a motion to move the hearing to near Jordan’s district instead, pointing out that crime in Columbus, Ohio, was far worse than it is in New York.

“To our witnesses here today who shared their pain and trauma in being victims of crime and violence: I am so sorry for the impact that has had on you and your families,” said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.) She addressed them by saying, however, “I fear that you have been revictimized by this hearing because this hearing is not going to provide change. It’s not a serious effort to make our communities safer. Our Republican colleagues aren’t in New York City to prevent crime. They’re here to protect someone who’s been charged with committing crimes,” she said, referring to Trump.

Bragg’s office has pushed back on GOP claims that the city is overwhelmed by crime.

After the hearing, D.A. Bragg issued a statement in his defense against Republican claims that he was presiding over rampant increases in crime: “Virtually, every major crime category is lower in Manhattan now than it was last year. During the first quarter of 2023, the NYPD reported steep declines in most major crime categories, including murder, rape, robbery, and burglary. For outside politicians to now appear in New York City on the taxpayer dime for a political stunt is a slap in the face to the dedicated NYPD officers, prosecutors, and other public servants who work tirelessly every day with facts and data to keep our home safe.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the committee, brought in witnesses that presented statistics showing that crime in a long list of states run by Republicans is far worse than it is in New York.

Witnesses produced by Jordan and the Republicans reflected the racism and the anti-Semitism of the Republican majority in the House. The so-called “Victims Rights Council,” spouting anti-Semitism in particular, produced a witness who said his group was fighting “good vs. evil against George Soros and his puppet candidates who want a complete breakdown of society.”

Nadler went on the attack against Jordan from the very beginning of the hearings. “In a few minutes, the House Judiciary Committee will convene what the chairman calls a field hearing. It may have some of the trappings of a hearing — we will have opening statements and witnesses and the members who will ask questions. But don’t be fooled, this is not a serious exercise. This is a political stunt.”

During the entire time that they carried out their stunt Republicans never addressed the problem of gun violence, the major cause of death among the nation’s young people. What the GOP ignores is as serious, if not more so, than the lies they tell about the things to which they do pay attention.

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John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.