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What Did It Take for One Democrat to Become Tough on Crime?

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

On Thursday, Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) was assaulted in the elevator of her D.C. apartment building.

“This morning around 7:15 a.m., Rep. Craig was assaulted in the elevator of her apartment building in Washington DC.,” Craig’s Chief of State Nick Coe said in a statement. “Rep. Craig defended herself from the attacker and suffered bruising but is otherwise physically okay.”

According to a local news report, “the suspect was in the lobby area of the building and was acting erratically as if he was under the influence of something. Craig said ‘good morning’ to the suspect prior to going into the elevator. The suspect then also got onto the elevator. The suspect then randomly started doing push-ups in the elevator, and then punched Craig in the chin, and later grabbed her neck, the police report said. She defended herself by tossing her hot coffee at the suspect, and the suspect fled.”

“There is no evidence that the incident was politically motivated,” Coe added.

Hours after the assault, Craig was one of 32 Democrats who joined with Republicans who voted to block the Washington, D.C., Council’s Revised Criminal Code Act of 2022, which would have reduced punishments for several violent offenses. As the Daily Caller notes, “Congress can exercise authority over D.C. local affairs, according to the District Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17), and Congress must review all D.C. legislation before it can become law. Congress can change or even overturn D.C. legislation and can impose new laws on the district.”

The D.C. Council passed the Revised Criminal Code Act (RCCA) in Nov. 2022. As a result of the RCCA, punishments for carjackings, robberies, and even murders are reduced. Even D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser vetoed the bill, but the Council, in a 12-to-1 vote, overrode her veto, which is why it took a vote of Congress to block it.

The question is, did being the victim of an assault influence Craig’s vote? Her vote this week stands in stark contrast to her history of supporting soft-on-crime policies. For example, in 2021, Craig supported and cosponsored the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would have imposed restrictions on policing techniques, and eliminated protections for law enforcement. It faced unanimous opposition from Republicans, who argued the bill was akin to defunding the police.

“The Democrats and radical left are going to defund, dismantle departments, take away officers’ liability protection for doing their job, and then they are going to take away their physical protection from harm. We will be lucky to have a police force in America in 10 years,” Rep. Greg Steube, (R-Fla.) said after the bill passed the House.

In fact, Craig voted against condemning the Defund the Police movement. She has tried to hide her anti-police record — but it doesn’t change the fact that she, like many in her party, has openly embraced weak-on-crime policies, including the Defund the Police movement.

Her decision to vote against reducing punishments for violent offenses in D.C. is a welcome one, but what bothers me is the question of whether her opposition to the Revised Criminal Code Act was related to her being the victim of a violent attack. I’d like to believe that it shouldn’t take being a victim for Democrats to understand the need to be tough on crime.

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