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HEADLINE ROUNDUP: Jim Jordan’s Manhattan Field Hearing Seen As Just Another “Silly Sideshow”

Apr 18, 2023

Monday was another flop for Jim Jordan and the MAGA House GOP. In a hearing reporters described as a “silly sideshow,” a “charade,” and a “political farce,” Jordan attempted to paint New York City as a cesspool of violent crime—even though the city’s homicide rates are much lower than in his own Ohio-based district. It is clear that this “circus hearing” was just another attempt to shield former president Donald Trump from accountability by attacking the district attorney who indicted him on felony charges. This failed partisan stunt only further demonstrates that Jordan and House Republicans are far more concerned with launching political stunts than public safety or the rule of law. But don’t just take our word for it:

New York Daily News Editorial Board: Jordan’s Carnival Comes To Town: House Judiciary Committee Hearing On Manhattan Crime Was A Silly Sideshow. “The House Judiciary Committee came to Manhattan yesterday on a supposed field hearing about local crime, but sideshow is a far better descriptor for the visit. All politics has elements of spectacle, and all politicians engage in some showboating, but at least this is often in service to a legitimate policy end. Chair Jim Jordan’s pathetic stunt served no purpose except to try to embarrass a prosecutor on his home turf for trying to do the job that the public has entrusted him with, which in turn is an effort to run cover for a former president facing multiple well-deserved investigations for everything from this alleged falsification of business records to an attempt to overturn an election. Whether or not you think Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s case against Donald Trump is strong or worth bringing is beyond the point. It’s obvious that there’s sufficient evidence to make the charges, and whether this results in the first-ever criminal conviction of a former commander-in-chief is up to a jury, not his lackeys in Congress. Jordan, with his faux-folksy, suit-jacket-hating ways, has contorted himself into one more of Trumpworld’s slate of cartoon characters slavishly hoping to please the boss. Even by his standards, the hearing was an embarrassment. Testimonials gave the committee no new information, as they were not intended to. GOP members didn’t even attempt to contend with the fact — as pointed out by one witness — of New York’s low and dropping rates of violent crime, instead choosing to pretend that the real NYC is an imagined expanse of lawless urban crime returned from many decades ago.” [New York Daily News Editorial Board, 4/18/23]

Daily Beast: Inside Jim Jordan’s ‘Charade’ Of A Hearing On Violent Crime In NYC. “Back when Jim Jordan was a collegiate wrestling champion, the strategy would have been called a double misdirection duck under. As a Trump-adoring Republican congressman from Ohio and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jordan’s initial misdirection on Monday was convening a hearing in New York to ‘examine how Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s pro-crime, anti-victim policies have led to an increase in violent crime and a dangerous community for New York City residents.’ In truth, the violent crime rate is declining in Manhattan, with murders down 14 percent, shootings down 17 percent and robberies down 8 percent. Jordan was just seeking to undermine Bragg and therefore the 32-count indictment he had secured against Trump 13 days before. ‘Don’t be fooled, this is not a serious exercise, this is a political stunt,’ Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) warned as the charade on the sixth floor of the federal building was about to begin. ‘Jim Jordan and his Republican accomplices are acting as an extension of the Trump defense team trying to intimidate a duly elected district attorney of Manhattan.’ […] As Jordan performed a double misdirection duck under in a political stunt disguised as a hearing, House returned to his school, where state law requires him to perform four lockdown drills a year. ‘Everybody has to lock their doors, turn off the lights and try to hide,’ he told The Daily Beast. ‘They have to be quiet. I go by, rattle the door handle, and listen.’“ [Daily Beast, 4/17/23]

Roll Call: House Republicans’ NYC Violent Crime Hearing Was A Political Farce. “Attacking Bragg was obviously payback for bringing felony charges against the former president — though committee Republicans denied it with the credibility of Trump bragging about a ‘perfect’ phone call. Elise Stefanik — a major figure in House GOP leadership who was sitting in on the hearing even though she is not on the committee — gave away the rest of Monday’s agenda when she said: ‘Look no further than the last November election when we flipped four congressional seats [in New York State]. What was the No. 1 issue? It was crime.’ But committee Republicans ran into two problems with the over-hyped production, both of which could have been anticipated before they left Washington. With the Democrats actively participating in the hearing and committee members stymied by a five-minute limit for questioning, it is was impossible to develop a coherent narrative about Bragg. Even Fox News only intermittently followed the hearing. The facts also conspired against Jordan, Stefanik and Co. Major crimes in New York City jumped during the pandemic — felonies are up by about 45 percent since 2021 — but they have dipped by a little in Manhattan this year. Tellingly, crime in New York started from a low base. So while the percentage increase sounds ominous, New York’s per capita crime numbers are just one-third as high as those of seemingly safe Columbus, Ohio. Jordan’s 4th Congressional District borders Ohio’s capital city.” [Roll Call, 4/18/23]

NY1 Spectrum News: NYC To Jim Jordan: We’re Not Dropping Dead. “The circus came to town on Monday — with Congressional Republicans playing ringmaster in a field hearing in Lower Manhattan dedicated to shaming District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Appearing on ‘Fox and Friends’ before the hearing started, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan said that Bragg’s indictment of former President Donald Trump earlier this month had nothing to do with his own decision last week to put a big spotlight on crime in Manhattan. And if you believe that, Jordan can also sell you a bridge that will take you right to Brooklyn. As Spectrum News’ Ari Feldman points out crime near Jordan’s home district in Ohio is far worse than Gotham’s — with Columbus’ murder rate towering over Manhattan. But don’t hold your breath for Jordan to hold a field hearing on crime in his Buckeye State. […] Meanwhile, Jordan is racking up political points at home and in Republican quarters by wagging his finger at Bragg. And it’s certainly not hurting Bragg’s fundraising, either, with Jordan’s attacks getting top billing in e-mails blasted out by Bragg’s reelection campaign. None of this does anything to actually address crime — a real problem in many places in the United States, including Manhattan. As Feldman points out, crime is going in the right direction in New York, but there’s no reason not to try to come up with more solutions. It just seems unlikely that a Congressman from Urbana, Ohio, is secretly the next Batman.” [Spectrum News, 4/18/23]

Raw Story: Nicolle Wallace Nails Jim Jordan Over His ‘Circus’ Hearing In Manhattan. “MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace criticized Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for his ‘circus’ hearing, bringing the House Judiciary Committee to Manhattan to attack District Attorney Alvin Bragg for what he said was a high rate of violent crime in the city. ‘Whether all of this is really what Republicans should be doing with their time even in front of their own viewers and voters they got an authentic New York City welcome today in that they were routinely shouted at in the hallway,’ Wallace said. ‘Something Jim Jordan could have avoided if he had chosen a different location — like one with higher crime rates if that was his ostensible point today, for instance. Or maybe traveling just south of Jordan’s own district, Columbus, Ohio, perhaps where the crime rate is about three times that of New York City.’ She said that the ‘clown show’ on display in New York wasn’t about violent crime there or solving any other problems that Congress typically manages. ‘It was about keeping their boss Donald J. Trump happy about showing him, Donald J. Trump, that no political stunt is too idiotic or illogical or unjustified to appease his badly damaged ego,’ she said.” [Raw Story, 4/17/23]

HuffPost: Ex-RNC Spokesperson Hits Rep. Jim Jordan With Some Harsh Truths About NYC Stunt. “Former Republican National Committee spokesperson Tim Miller said Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) ‘field hearing’ of the House Judiciary Committee — in which the congressman accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg of being soft on crime — was nothing more than a performative gesture aimed at appeasing former President Donald Trump. It was just ‘made-for-TV culture war low-calorie nonsense,’ Miller told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace on Monday’s broadcast of ‘Deadline: White House.’ Trump-loving Jordan traveled to Manhattan earlier in the day to take aim at Bragg, who just so happened to have charged Trump in the Stormy Daniels hush-money payment case. ‘If you are fighting for victims of crime, you will be going out there saying, ‘Oh, hey, we’re proposing reforms, like we’re proposing police reforms.’ Whatever it is. ‘Criminal justice reform we think that will make our streets safer,’’ said Miller. ‘That is not what this is. This is just a big show, a performative show, to performatively fight Alvin Bragg. That is what the whole Trump era has been,’ he continued. ‘That’s what the party has been. They want people to be this supposed big middle finger to the left — to the people that they hate — but they aren’t actually doing anything.’” [HuffPost, 4/18/23]