Former Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA) believes Democrat leaders in Pennsylvania have contributed to Philadelphia’s record-breaking wave of murders by failing to prioritize law and order, he said during an interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Saturday.
Barletta, who is hoping to replace term-limited Gov. Tom Wolf (D) next year, cited Wolf, Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney (D), and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D) as those who share blame for the City of Brotherly Love’s grim homicide statistics.
“When you put all this liberalism in one basket, this is what we get — not only a record number of murders in Philadelphia, but a record number of overdoses,” Barletta said. “It’s just unbelievable. People are afraid to go out of their homes. And that’s what you get when you talk about defunding the police and some of these policies that are destroying our great cities in America.”
2021 will go down as the deadliest year in recent history in Philadelphia in terms of homicides. The Philadelphia Police Department reported that as of December 9, the city had seen 524 homicides, up from 499 in 2020 and surpassing the record set in 1990 of 500.
“The numbers speak for themselves. I mean, people are alarmed. Businesses are alarmed,” Barletta said, adding that he visited Philadelphia this past week and spoke to a business owner there who said he was attacked once on his way home.
The Pennsylvania Republican highlighted what he perceived to be failures of Democrat leaders in his state that have given way to an increase in violent crime.
Wolf last year marched with “BLM protesters who [were] holding up signs that said ‘blue lives murder,’” Barletta said. Wolf, a Democrat governor at the helm of a Republican-majority state legislature, also just vetoed a bill this month that would have made Pennsylvania the 22nd state to allow constitutional carry.
Another prominent Pennsylvanian, Shapiro, who is running for governor on the Democrats’ side, “would rather go after the Little Sisters of the Poor than go down into the Kensington part of Philadelphia, which is the largest open air drug market east of the Mississippi,” Barletta contended, making a reference to the litigation between Shapiro and the Trump administration over exempting the Little Sisters of the Poor and other employers from providing insurance-covered birth control.
As another example of law and order disregard, Barletta pointed to Philadelphia Mayor Kenney’s celebratory dance he did in 2018 when a court ruling further solidified the city’s immigration sanctuary status.
— Steve Preston (@StevePrest) June 6, 2018
As a final example, Barletta noted District Attorney Krasner’s comment on December 6 that in Philadelphia, “We don’t have a crisis of lawlessness. We don’t have a crisis of crime. We don’t have a crisis of violence.” The Philadelphia Inquirer detailed how Krasner was forced to apologize after his remarks drew sharp criticism across the political spectrum in the wake of the city’s record murder rate.
Yesterday, I expressed my regret and acknowledged any pain my comments last week may have caused survivors, co-victims, and communities experiencing our city's gun violence crisis:https://t.co/J00j8ZvLD9
— DA Larry Krasner (@DA_LarryKrasner) December 14, 2021
While Philadelphia has not moved to strip funding from its police department, Barletta said the “defund the police” sentiments of the far-left members of the Democrat Party, which sprang from Black Lives Matter protests and riots over police brutality last year, have nevertheless also contributed to the violent crime wave.
“This is exactly what happens when all this talk about defunding our police and the police are wrong,” Barletta said. “You know, the Democrat Party, this is not the party that we grew up with. This is now a party of lawlessness, and that ends here in Pennsylvania. Law and order is coming back in the 2022 election.”
Should he be elected governor, Barletta, who made headlines during his decade-long tenure as Hazleton mayor for his fight against illegal migration, said banning sanctuary jurisdictions would be a top priority as he seeks to control crime in the Keystone State.
“We’re not going to sit back, and you know, when you declare yourself a sanctuary city, if you’re a criminal alien, where the hell are you gonna go? … They’re going to go to those cities [where they] are being protected by their elected officials at the expense of the taxpayers, who feel helpless right now in Philadelphia.”
Barletta also said he supports a Republican-sponsored bill introduced by state Rep. Martina White that would permit recalls of certain elected officials.
“We’re going to hold people accountable that should be the DA, the mayor, the attorney general. The governor can bring all the resources possible, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Every resource at my fingertips, I’m going to bring it into Philadelphia. I’m going to shine a light on those who are not doing their jobs,” Barletta vowed. “We’re putting the people of Philadelphia at risk. I’m going to bring everything I possibly can to put an end to this lawlessness that’s going on in Philadelphia. It ends.”