President Donald Trump has ordered federal agencies to find ways to “defund” cities that have permitted “anarchy” amid the ongoing riots in the U.S., according to an exclusive report from the New York Post.
What are the details?
“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” the president wrote in a memo to agencies, according to The Post. “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.”
New York City, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Portland are targeted in the report, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s name is invoked twice. De Blasio has repeatedly asked the federal government to bail out his city citing revenue losses due to COVID-19 lockdowns after he pulled roughly $1 billion from the NYPD budget at the request of protesters amid soaring crime rates.
President Trump’s memo reportedly calls out the cities for “failed leadership” as rioters have burned businesses, threatened officials (including the mayors themselves) and incited violence. He added, “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 president’s move comes after he has repeatedly offered federal law enforcement assistance to Democrat-run cities who have rejected his offers while leaders simultaneously acted to steer funds away from their own police departments amid the unrest.
One unnamed senior administration official told The Post, “taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for local politicians’ dereliction of duty.” The person added, “President Trump is ensuring taxpayer dollars are not wasted by lawless mayors.”
Protests devolving into violence have plagued cities across the U.S. since late May following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis.
Democratic politicians largely supported the protests in the beginning and marched in solidarity with organizations such as Black Lives Matter, with some even egging on the unrest. But as the destruction has started to impact polling numbers, Democrats — including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — have started clarifying their messages, adding that violence is not warranted in the demonstrations for justice.
Meanwhile, President Trump has repeatedly called for “law and order” as a campaign platform for his reelection bid.