Trump calls for review to cut funding to cities with ‘lawless’ protests

MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
US President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he makes his way to board Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on September 1, 2020, heading to Kenosha, Wisconsin to meet with law enforcement officials and to survey damage following civil unrest in the city.

President Trump on Wednesday called for federal government agencies to begin reviewing potential funding cuts to cities having what the president deemed “lawless” protests.

Trump signed a five-page memo ordering federal agency heads to submit a report to the Office of Management and Budget detailing all federal funds provided to Seattle, Portland, New York City and Washington, D.C. within 14 days. 

“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” Trump stated according to a copy of the memo shared by the White House. 

“To ensure that Federal funds are neither unduly wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our Government’s promise to protect life, liberty, and property, it is imperative that the Federal Government review the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America’s cities,” he added.

Attorney General William Barr is also directed to publish on the Department of Justice website a list identifying “anarchist jurisdictions,” defined as state and local jurisdictions “that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities,” according to the memo.

The memo comes as Trump continues to push a message of “law and order” in his bid for reelection. He has criticized local leaders’ handling of protests amid the nationwide demonstrations sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in May. 

Protests were reignited in some cities, as well as in Kenosha, Wis., after last week’s police shooting of Jacob Blake. 

In the memo, Trump continued his crusade against Democratic leaders’ handling of the protest. 

“As a result of these State and local government policies, persistent and outrageous acts of violence and destruction have continued unabated in many of America’s cities, such as Portland, Seattle, and New York,” the memo states. 

He specifically calls out his frequent Democratic targets, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, by name in the memo. Trump calls for review to cut funding to cities with ‘lawless’ protests

Cuomo appeared to respond to Trump’s memo by calling it “an illegal stunt” and criticizing the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“President Trump has actively sought to punish NYC since day one. He let COVID ambush New York. He refuses to provide funds that states and cities MUST receive to recover,” Cuomo tweeted shortly after the White House sent the memo to reporters.

“He is not a king. He cannot ‘defund’ NYC. It’s an illegal stunt,” Cuomo added. 

The memo was first reported by The New York Post

Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought said the review will help ensure federal resources “flowing to lawless cities aren’t being squandered.” 

“The lack of law and order surrounding these riots, and response from local leadership, is a dereliction of duty. Our men and women in blue cannot be handcuffed by local leadership in their efforts to respond to riots and protect their fellow citizens,” Vought said in a statement. 

Tags Andrew Cuomo Bill de Blasio Black Lives Matter protest Donald Trump Muriel Bowser New York Portland Seattle Washington DC William Barr
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