OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Fox News host Jesse Watters called Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib a “dangerous idiot” over her support for legislation that would release all prisoners after 10 years and abolish all federal prisons.
During a segment on The Five, Watters and the panel discussed bail reform after low bail allowed the release of a man who then drove an SUV into a Christmas parade in Wisconsin that killed several people and injured many more.
Host Dana Perino noted that Tlaib and other far-left Democrats support reforms that could free many more dangerous people into communities.
“While many are furious and wondering how this could happen, members of the squad, well, they are doubling down on criminal justice reforms. AOC criticizing excessive bail in New York City, and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib being confronted over a plan to release everyone from federal prison,” Perino said.
Perino referenced Tlaib’s recent interview with Axios, where she seemed to not fully understand the BREATHE Act, which she supports.
“The congresswoman’s an idiot,” Watters said after Perino aired a clip of the interview. “And she has power, so that makes her a very dangerous idiot.”
During an interview for the outlet’s HBO series, Jonathan Swan discussed her support for the”BREATHE Act,” which is premised on prison reform.
“In 2020, you endorsed the BREATHE Act, which is a series of proposals to transform America’s criminal justice system and create, quote, ‘a roadmap for prison abolition.’ The BREATHE Act proposes emptying federal detention facilities within 10 years,” Swan asked.
“To what extent have you wrestled with any potential downsides of releasing into society every single person who’s currently in a federal prison?”
“Yeah, I think that everyone’s like, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to just release everybody,’” Tlaib said. “That’s not what I’m—”
“That’s what the act says,” Swan said in quick response.
“Yeah, but did you see how many people are mentally ill that are in prison right now,” Tlaib countered.
“No, I know,” Swan said. “But the act you endorsed actually says release everyone in 10 years. … There are like, human traffickers, child sex [predators]. Do you mean that you don’t actually support that? Because you endorsed the bill.”
Tlaib went on to claim that many prisoners “are mentally ill or struggling with substance abuse issues and that those people should be rehabilitated instead of incarcerated,” Fox News noted.
“Why aren’t you asking me about them?” the Michigan Democrat asked Swan. “You’re asking me about the human traffickers and others that should be able to be held accountable.”
“What I’m trying to understand is, your proposal is so sweeping,” Swan responded. “It does release everyone.”
“Oh, yeah, within 10 years,” Tlaib explained. “Obviously there’s a process of looking at how we can get away from mass incarceration and move toward care first.”
“Do you believe that there are still categories of people who should be behind bars?” Swan asked.
“There are absolutely,” Tlaib noted. “I don’t think there’s any rehabilitation happening right now for those that might actually have … mental health issues.”
“Do you think all people can be rehabilitated?” Swan asked.
“I don’t think so. I’ve been very clear about that,” Tlaib replied.
“I would have to look at every case individually and figure all of that out,” she added later. “Everyone in jail is not the same.”
Fox News adds: “A summary of the act calls for the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to create a plan that ‘provides for full decarceration of federal detention facilities within 10 years’ and ‘enacts a moratorium on all new federal prison, jail, immigrant and youth detention construction.’”
The congresswoman’s responses caught the attention of Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who said noted in a tweet thread that the Democrat’s proposal is an even more “radical” implementation of “Defund the Police.”
“Oddly enough, Congresswoman Tlaib has had a tough time convincing Congress to follow her lead on emptying prisons,” the senator noted. “However, the Taliban jumped all over this idea. When they took over Afghanistan first thing they did was empty all the prisons – including releasing terrorists.
“What could possibly go wrong?” he asked. “And why didn’t the media bring up this proposal during 2020 presidential campaign?”
According to a website explaining the BREATHE Act:
IMAGINE : Schools free of police and full of trained counselors and restorative-justice programs, where all our children are kept safe and their needs are met.
IMAGINE : Easy access to trained, trauma-informed interventionists who can be called on in domestic-violence situations and who are equipped to facilitate long-term safety, healing, and prevention.
IMAGINE : 911 operators dispatching unarmed mental-health experts instead of police in situations involving behavioral health crises, and callers being allowed to request responders that connect to the gender identity of the person in crisis.
The BREATHE Act offers a radical reimagining of public safety, community care, and how we spend money as a society.