"Next time you get in trouble, call a crackhead," La. Sen. John Kennedy says in campaign ad

"Woke leaders blame the police. I blame the criminals," Kennedy says

By Kelly McClure

Nights & Weekends Editor

Published October 2, 2022 1:54PM (EDT)

Senator John Kennedy, R-LA (MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Senator John Kennedy, R-LA (MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy has released a new campaign ad in his run for re-election that is causing a stir even outside state lines. 

In the 30-second ad, Kennedy speaks in a stern voice to the camera saying "Violent crime is surging in Louisiana. Woke leaders blame the police. I blame the criminals. A mom should not have to look over her shoulder when she's pumping gas. I voted against the early release of violent criminals and I opposed defunding the police. Look, if you hate cops just because they're cops, the next time you get in trouble, call a crackhead."

In a recent interview with Fox News, Kennedy says "If we wanna get control of this crime problem that we have, we're gonna have to do a couple of things. We're gonna have to hire more cops. New Orleans and my state need 2,000 cops on the street. We've got less than 1,000."

In the interview, Kennedy goes on to list further plans for action citing the need to pay cops a proper wage.

"You're not gonna get cops to work in this woke environment without paying them."

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

General response to Kennedy's campaign ad and earlier statements made regarding Louisiana crime vary from shock and disbelief to reminders of ways in which he hasn't practiced what he's preaching.

"We have to address violent crime," Democratic challenger Luke Mixon said in a statement obtained from Nola.com. "We do that by funding our police departments. Sen. Kennedy voted against $350 billion in funding for local police departments. To paraphrase Sen. Kennedy, watch what people do, not just their embarrassing one-liners." 

"So senator Kennedy from the great state of Louisiana said that if you don't like police to call a crackhead when you need help," says US Army combat veteran Kevin Smith on Twitter. "They seriously believe that we actually need police and it's hilarious!"

Although crime in Louisiana has been an ongoing issue, locals are often left grappling with a dwindling "do nothing" police force. In one example of this, a New Orleans deputy constable was suspended in August for failing to respond to calls for help regarding a rape case.

On the night of the crime, which took place on July 26, a woman phoned 911 after witnessing another woman being raped in plain view on the street in the French Quarter.

"Actually, there's a police officer in front of me now," the woman told the dispatcher, via reporting by The Washington Post. "I mean, this police officer isn't even moving — he's still just parked here."

"He's gone. This … cop is still a block away . . . and this girl got raped in the street corner. There is a cop a block away."

Although the officer accused of ignoring the woman's calls for help wasn't a member of the New Orleans Police Department but rather a deputy constable with the Second City Court, according to The Washington Post, the woman also claimed to have seen two more police officers drive past the scene without offering assistance. 

By Kelly McClure

Kelly McClure is Salon's Nights and Weekends Editor covering daily news, politics and culture. Her work has been featured in Vulture, The A.V. Club, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Nylon, Vice, and elsewhere. She is the author of Something is Always Happening Somewhere.

MORE FROM Kelly McClure

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Louisiana Police Funding Sen. John Kennedy