New York City’s top cop is ripping into White House spokesman Josh Earnest after Earnest referenced U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer's past vote against the Iran nuclear deal while discussing President Obama's proposed cuts in federal counterror funding to the city.
“What the hell does the Iran deal have to do with this issue?” Bratton asked Thursday, a day after Earnest's comments during a White House briefing.
“So basically, what the White House has done is tip their hand: this might be political payback against Sen. Schumer for a vote he made a while back," Bratton said. "That should have nothing to do with the issue at hand, which is terrorism and the threat to this city.”
On Wednesday, when Earnest was asked about the proposed $90 million security funding cuts to New York amid growing ISIS threats, he said Schumer should not be fully trusted about national security issues in part because of his past vote against Obama's Iran deal.
"He was wrong on that issue … and when people look at the facts here, when it comes to funding homeland security, they’ll recognize he’s wrong this time too," he said.
Earnest insisted Thursday that the planned cuts in federal security funding is not tied to Schumer’s Iran vote: “There’s no relationship at all.”
Earnest has claimed the cuts are justified because New York is sitting on $600 million in unused security dollars. But Bratton said that money is allocated for current and future programs at the state and city levels, and that the $90 million reduction to the city could result in fewer counterterror patrols, less training and fewer intelligence resources.
Bratton accused Earnest of misleading the public about the real numbers.
"I do know my numbers," he said, before voicing anger at Earnest’s suggestion that Bratton and other New York officials were holding annual news conferences to get headlines.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has joined Schumer is criticizing the White House cuts, and New Jersey's U.S. senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, both Democrats, have also complained the White House's proposed security cuts unfairly hit the Garden State.
In late January, New Jersey officials sent a formal letter of complaint to Department of Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson about the budget reductions.