WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden met with Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams on Monday, where the City Hall hopeful laid out his vision for addressing the underlying causes driving crime.

"The prerequisite to prosperity is public safety and justice, and if we don't have them both together, it doesn't matter how many police officers are put on the street," Adams said. "We can't continue to respond to symptoms; it's time to respond to the underlying causes of violence in our city."

The meeting with Adams and a handful of other local officials from across the United States came as part of a push by the White House to address an uptick in violent crimes over the past year, spurred by the pandemic. Attorney General Merrick Garland, White House counsel Dana Remus and domestic policy adviser Susan Rice also attended the meeting.

Biden said he was meeting with the officials — including Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown and Newark Police Lt. Anthony Lima — to discuss crime prevention strategies that have worked in their respective communities.

"There is no one-size-fits-all approach," Biden said. "We know there are some things that work, and the first of those that work is stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violent crimes."

Adams, a former NYPD captain who has campaigned on a message of improving public safety, emerged last week as the winner in a crowded Democratic primary. He is favored to defeat Republican Curtis Sliwa, a longtime activist, in November’s general election, in a city where Democrats far outnumber Republicans.

The White House, in a memo to local leaders issued Monday morning, urged municipalities to tap into federal stimulus funding approved by Congress in April to hire additional police officers.

Adams, asked by reporters after the meeting if he believed New York City should use stimulus funding to hire more officers, said the money should be used to address underlying issues driving crime, such as unemployment, adding that the city should assess how it’s currently deploying rank-and-file officers.

"I think there's some things we can do with the dollars that the president has allocated to make sure we get to those long-term plans," Adams said. "It doesn't mean ‘do we need to hire more police officers?’ … No. It means using the dollars correctly, and that means putting more police in our subway system, let's do that. That means, putting more police officers out of their vehicles [to] walk the streets and you have greater community engagement, let's do that."

Adams, describing himself as the "Biden of Brooklyn," said he was invited to the meeting in his current capacity as Brooklyn Borough President. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, when asked about not getting invited to the meeting, told reporters earlier in the day that "it makes sense" that Adams was invited because he "brings a particular perspective" as a former police officer.

Sliwa, in a phone interview with Newsday, criticized Biden’s decision to invite Adams ahead of the general election, saying he should have been invited to share his perspective as a victim of gun-violence, having survived a shooting in the 1990s.

"Why is the president involving himself in a local race for mayor?" Sliwa said. "If you are going to invite Eric Adams, you should have invited someone who has more knowledge in this field than Eric Adams because I was personally shot."

Asked about Sliwa’s criticism, a White House official said Adams was invited because he "has been a leading voice in New York and nationally on how we can improve public safety and reform police departments to better serve their communities. And he brings more than 20 years’ experience as an officer in the NYPD."

Adams was also scheduled to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

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