WASHINGTON -- New York City's top cop had a message for Donald Trump and other peddlers of doom on the campaign trail Thursday: Stop. It's not helping.
Candidates like Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have been railing against Muslim immigrants and refugees after the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, with Trump going so far as to say Muslims should be banned from entering the United States in order to keep the country safe.
Bratton does not think such steps are necessary, and finds the rhetoric worse than overblown, saying it's adding to an unwarranted atmosphere of fear.
"I think the presidential politics are stoking those fears to significant levels," Bratton said, speaking to a few reporters after a Washington event to unveil artwork showing NYPD 9/11 responders. "I can’t tell you the number of calls I get from people about, 'Is it safe to come to New York,'" he said, adding that he thinks it's so safe he's having his grandkids in for Christmas.
"It’s just unfortunate that in the hysteria of the campaign, unnecessary fear is being created," said Bratton, whose department has been sued for its surveillance of Muslim communities.
"We need awareness, but we don’t need fear, fear generation," Bratton said. "In the political dialogue, there’s too much of that, not just from Mr. Trump, but from many of the people running for office at this time, and many of the people supporting them."
He noted that thousands of people have died in criminal acts in New York City since 9/11, but residents do not walk around in a constant state of fear.
"There is a balance, and much as we don’t live in fear of traditional crime, we shouldn’t be living in fear of something that has, absent the 9/11 event, not created as much havoc as traditional crime."