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.”
To mask the actual crime numbers, Jordan applied a second misdirection, inviting the families of two murder victims, the father of a hate crime, and a Manhattan bodega clerk who was charged with homicide after killing a robber but later deemed to have acted in self-defense.
The emotional impact of each individual case eclipsed the statistics. And the Democrats faced the impossible challenge of insisting that crime is down while people whose loved ones have been victims of violence are at the witness table a few feet away. More than one grieving relative was roused to fury.
Then came the duck under.
While some 90 percent of New York homicides involve a firearm, all the killings described by the witnesses were committed with a knife. Had a gun been involved, the Democrats would have no doubt raised the question of how the weapon came to be in New York. The vast majority of them originate from the “iron pipeline”: red southern states with lax gun laws.
There was no inconvenient pistol for the likes of gun rights fanatic Rep. Troy Edwin Nehls (R-TX) to explain away. He spoke as if he were righteousness itself when he addressed Bragg, as though the prosecutor was physically present at the hearing.
“You’re a disgrace to this county and I will do everything I can to hold you accountable,” said Nehls, a former police officer fired for allegedly destroying evidence.
The full double misdirection duck under was on display when Rep. Dan Goldman (D-NY) told the witnesses that he viewed the hearing as a “charade” aimed at assisting Trump. Madeline Brame reacted as a mother who feels justice has still not been done after the fatal knifing of her 35-year-old son, Hason Correra, in upper Manhattan in 2018. Two men are serving 20 years to life, but Bragg dropped the charges against two other people she feels were involved. She works as a victim advocate and she pointedly told Goldman that “victims do not care about politics.”
“Don’t insult my intelligence,” she told Goldman. “You’re trying to insult me like I’m not aware of what’s going on here.”
A particularly pointed critique of Jordan’s approach was later voiced by Mark House, the principal of Bronx Engineering and Technology Academy. He is aso both a gun owner and a member of Brady’s Regional New York Leadership Council for gun reform, which is why he spoke, along with New York Mayor Eric Adams, on a second-floor balcony at the federal building just before the hearing.
“I told my students I was going to miss the first period today to come down here and try to speak a little truth on their behalf,” House began. “Let’s take our visiting politicians at their word today. Let’s assume that they want to talk about violence in New York City, my city. Well, then let’s talk.”
He addressed the issue as Jordan would have—if he were legit and not sticking to knife violence for political expediency.
“What makes violence in our city, their cities, their state, so violent?” House asked. “Simple. Guns.”
House listed what Jordan was not going to address for all his talk of reducing crime: “Unregulated guns, unrestricted sales, no background checks.” He described the impact of Jordan and his pals playing politics admid the public health epidemic of gun violence.
”Because of the failure in Congress to act to strengthen our laws, my students… have to regularly partake in school lockdown drills that I administer, I direct,” he said.“I have to teach our kids how to hide, how to secure the doors in their classrooms, how to stay quiet so somebody with a gun doesn’t hunt them down in their own schools.”
He concluded, “Enough. Enough of the hypocrisy, enough of the politics, enough of the excuses, enough of the thoughts and prayers, enough of the lockdown drills, enough of the shootings. The time for action is now.”
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.”