California Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a tweet Friday over crime in the California House district he represents, even though McCarthy does not have the authority to make criminal law or oversee law enforcement in the state.
After McCarthy criticized Newsom on Twitter for proposing a state constitutional amendment to impose gun ownership restrictions – telling him that “[p]residential aspirants [should] stop pushing their extreme positions nationally” – Newsom responded by telling McCarthy to “own up to the fact that you represent a district with the highest murder rate in our state,” referring to the 20th district of California, which McCarthy represents in Congress, adding that McCarthy was “doing nothing.” McCarthy, however, does not execute state and local laws or oversee law enforcement, which is the responsibility of California’s state government, of which Newsom, as governor, is the head.
Newsom has proposed a Real Public Safety Plan to reduce crime in California, which saw a 6% increase in violent crime rates in 2021, with aggravated assaults rising by 8.9%, homicides by 7.7% and rapes by 7.9%, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. The homicide rate is California’s highest in over a decade, per CalMatters.
Congress, of which McCarthy is a member, does not have the enumerated power to control federal or state law enforcement under the U.S. Constitution, with the body only enacting federal criminal law on a narrow range of subjects.
Federal law enforcement officers, who have jurisdiction in McCarthy’s district, are under the supervision of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, a presidential appointee. However, federal law enforcement does not usually prosecute murder and focuses on specific issues, such as organized crime, drug trafficking and national security, among others.
McCarthy’s comment on Newsom, 55, as a “presidential aspirant” refers to speculation that Newsom, in his second term as governor, wants to run for president. Newsom’s predecessor, former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, has said it’s a “no-brainer” that Newsom wants to run.
Newsom and McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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