DHS Sec. Chad Wolf: Criminals are 'emboldened' as leaders 'play politics' with law enforcement

Governors need to step up and ask federal government to help restore law and order, DHS says

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf says other states should follow Georgia’s lead on ‘America’s Newsroom.’

America's criminals are further "emboldened" as leaders "play politics" with law enforcement, acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Tuesday.

In an interview on "America's Newsroom" with host Sandra Smith, Wolf said that discussions about defunding police departments or "attacking" law enforcement only serve to strengthen the "criminal element."

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"I think what we see again when the violence we’re talking about in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and others: what we know is criminals are violent opportunists," he said.

A man yells at a Metropolitan Police officer as demonstrators protest in front of a police line on the section of Washington, D.C., renamed Black Lives Matter Plaza, on June 23. (AP)

"And, I think really that's what we've seen over the last weekend and going back several weeks now," Wolf added. "So, I think folks need to stop playing politics with law enforcement. Give law enforcement the tools and resources they need to do their job."

Wolf also told Smith that he was "happy" to see Georgia's Republican Gov. Brian Kemp had "stepped up" and called in the National Guard.

"I think there are other states that need to do that as well," he said. "We talk about a thin blue line between law and order and chaos and I think that's what we’re seeing across the country now. We need to give law enforcement that support and when that outpaces the support at the state or local level, the federal government is here to support."

Wolf's comments come following a weekend of horrific violent crime largely in Democrat-led cities.

According to the Chicago Police Department, there were 87 people shot and 17 killed from July 2 to July 5. There were at least 44 shooting incidents and 10 dead in New York City as the Big Apple saw its surge in violence continue. The NYPD reported that June shootings in NYC were up 130 percent from the same time last year. In Atlanta, Kemp declared a State of Emergency after 30 Georgians were wounded by gunfire, including five who were killed.

Smith asked Wolf at what point President Trump and Homeland Security were willing to take action themselves.

Wolf responded that while federal enforcement would be "third-level backup" and governors need to ask for help themselves, there are ongoing conversations between his department, the White House, and the Department of Justice "taking a look" at different cities and localities experiencing the violence.

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"And, some of this violence is manifesting itself in different ways. We see what happened in Atlanta and Chicago, and then what we see in Portland and Seattle are much more organized criminal violent [mobs] – [that] type of violence," he told Smith. "And so you have to really come at that a different way."

"So, we are taking a look at all of our options. But again, what we are requesting, what we’re asking for governors is that if your capacity is no longer enough to defend your cities, to restore that law and order: request help from the federal government," Wolf said. "We will be there."

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