On the congressional campaign trail, Max Rose (D., N.Y.) says he'll be a champion for tough-on-crime policies as his district suffers from a spike in homicides and assaults. That's a stark contrast from when he was in office just two years ago, when he promised left-wing advocacy groups he would push for criminal justice reform measures.
Rose's latest ad, in which he says he'll "fix the things we worry about every single day," such as New York's lenient bail laws, was met with mockery from a range of police union representatives.
"It’s election time and Max Rose took his fingers out of his ears to check which way the wind is blowing," the Detectives’ Endowment Association tweeted.
The latest ad highlights difficulties Democratic candidates face amid a national crime wave after trying to appease the most radical members of their party. Many Democrats, such as Rose, embraced left-wing criminal justice reforms following the death of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, despite riots breaking out across the country.
Rose previously supported measures including the elimination of bail for a number of offenses, including violent felonies, as well as the decriminalization of minor offenses. Various law enforcement organizations in his district, which is situated in Staten Island, aren’t buying Rose’s new position.
The Rose campaign says the former congressman has "been consistent on this issue from day 1."
"Max knows there needs to be a dangerousness standard to keep New Yorkers safe and that's why he opposed the law that was enacted," his campaign told the Free Beacon.
Even before Floyd’s death, however, New York Democrats targeted cash bail. In 2018, Rose went on the record in a candidate questionnaire for the left-wing Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn and stated that he supports "efforts to enact criminal justice reform and end mass incarceration, including … bail reform."
The New York City Police Benevolent Association hasn’t forgotten about that. Its president, Pat Lynch, blasted Rose for supporting criminal justice reforms and asked where he was "in 2018 and 2019," when law enforcement expressed concerns.
Rose lost his reelection race to Republican Nicole Malliotakis in 2020. Following his defeat, Rose acknowledged that his support for Black Lives Matter was likely the culprit.
"'Max Rose marched with the defund crowd. Max Rose marched with them. You marched with those looters,'" he said at the time. "'You marched with BLM,' to which end, there’s actually video of this to which I respond, yeah you caught me. What are you going to do? I thought it my responsibility—in fact, my obligation—as their congressperson. I don’t regret it for a second. I would do it again."
But cops in his district haven’t forgotten. Earlier this month, the Sergeants Benevolent Association released a letter slamming Rose’s new positions on crime.
"The entire time Rose was in office, as well as the last two years when he was on the outside looking in, he NEVER ONCE reached out to men and women of law enforcement," the group wrote.
Rose will face Malliotakis again in November, although he is considered a longshot. A poll released in July found Malliotakis leading by 15 points.