Fox News’ “The Five” co-host Jesse Watters blasted Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) on Tuesday as a “dangerous idiot” for championing legislation that would mostly empty all U.S. prisons over the course of a decade.
The program opened with a discussion of the vehicular attack Christmas parade marchers and spectators in Waukesha, Wis., on Sunday involving Darrell Brooks, a career criminal who has been charged with five counts of intentional homicide and is expected to be charged with a sixth count after an 8-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries earlier in the day.
“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,” co-host Dana Perino said to segue into the segment.
Perino was referencing an interview Tlaib did on Axios with HBO correspondent Jonathan Swan, in which he asked her about her support for the BREATHE Act, going on to play a clip of her comments.
“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 in response. “That’s not what I’m—”
“That’s what the act says,” Swan interjected.
“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.”
After the clip, Perino made a reference to the tragedy in Waukesha, saying, “On the very same day that this is happening, the squad is advocating for even more reforms of this sort.”
“The congresswoman’s an idiot, and she has power, so that makes her a very dangerous idiot,” Watters responded. He also said as live footage of Brooks in court Tuesday was playing that the suspect was pushing “a lot of anti-Trump, anti-capitalism content” online, as well as “wacky conspiracy theories about Jews and Hitler.”
In her interview, 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 said. “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.”