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Tipsheet

Why Does DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Support Banning 'Assault Weapons' If He Can't Even Define Them?

Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP

If Republicans did anything on Tuesday, it was remind us how incompetent Department of Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is. He had quite the exchange with Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Josh Hawley (R-MO), as has also been covered. And then there's his particularly telling and worrisome exchange with Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA).

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During the memorable line of questioning, Kennedy asked if he agreed with President Joe Biden that "we should ban the private ownership of assault weapons in America," to which Mayorkas responded with "Senator, I do." The clear cut answers from Mayorkas stopped there, though. 

When Kennedy asked him directly "what is an assault weapon," the secretary offered "it is, for example, an AK-47." He even said so as matter-of-factly as possible, truly expecting that to be a sufficient answer. It wasn't. The senator gently prodded further, asking for a definition rather than an example, also asking "would there be other weapons besides an AK-47 you would ban?"

The secretary than made it increasingly obvious he didn't have much of an answer to such direct questions. "Uh, there very well are, and I remember when I was a federal prosecutor in the Central District of California, from September 25, 1989 to I believe it was April 2001," he said, as Kennedy cut him off to thank him for his service before trying to redirect him back to the question. Cross talk went on to occur as the senator made it clear he just wanted an answer, though Mayorkas preferred to deflect by claiming law enforcement officers he worked with supported such a ban. 

Evidently having had enough, Kennedy reminded that senators "get so frustrated" on account of how Mayorkas "won't give a straight answer."

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Even more stunning than Mayorkas seeming to genuinely believe that listing the AK-47 as an example was an answer to Kennedy's question was his doubling down on it. "I think I just did," he told Kennedy, still with a smug tone. 

Upon Kennedy asking once more for the definition, Mayorkas offered "I am confident there is a technical definition of what is an assault weapon and it was assuredly used in the context of the statute that previously existed banning assault weapons." For claiming to be so "confident," Mayorkas in reality had little to offer.

As Kennedy reminded in that exchange, the president is quite in favor of such a ban. We're constantly used to hearing from Democrats, including and especially from those in the Biden administration, that we need to ban so-called assault weapons. Biden himself politicized the tragedy on Monday by repeating that call, during his remarks at a women's summit, after he joked about ice cream. He continued to joke about the tragedy on Tuesday. 

Joking about the targeting and death of Christians wasn't the only time the president appeared in public on Tuesday to make appalling comments. He spoke in Durham, North Carolina to give remarks about supposedly "investing in America." Before he even spoke, though, Biden raised eyebrows and made headlines for a hot mic moment making it that much more painfully obvious how much he depends on his handlers. On Tuesday, "25th Amendment" was trending over Twitter as a result. 

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During his remarks, Biden brought up his priority of gun control and the ban on certain weapons, including when it comes to the AR-15.

Claiming to speak about such a ban as "a commonsense issue" rather than one about partisanship, Biden again demanded that Congress go along with his legislative priorities. "People say why do I keep saying this if it’s not happening?  Because I want you know who isn’t doing it, who isn’t helping--to put pressure on them," he added.

"You know, I know you see on television--it’s not just merely the weapon in terms of its--that it’s semiautomatic, in effect, but the velocity with which is comes out of that muzzle, what it does when it hits the body.  Most bullets would go just straight through and out, leaving--but it blows up once it’s inside your body," he claimed. "What in God’s name--what in God’s name does anyone need that for in America?"

After such passionate remarks, the president pointed out he was going to "speak to what I came to talk about."

While the president claimed to be "a Second Amendment guy," he repeated the chilling warning he's been making for years, which is to claim such a right to bear arms is "not absolute."

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Even the Associated Press, in reporting from last November, has acknowledged that those in support of a ban on so-called assault weapons are "using an inexact term."

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