President Donald Trump is taking steps to revoke federal funds from New York City and other cities he says are descending into ‘anarchy’.
‘My Administration will do everything in its power to prevent weak mayors and lawless cities from taking Federal dollars while they let anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses. We’re putting them on notice today,’ Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Trump on Wednesday signed a five-page memo ordering all federal agencies to send reports to the White House Office of Management and Budget on federal funds going to four cities that can be redirected, according to the New York Post.
In addition to New York, the memo names Seattle, Washington DC and Portland, Oregon as potential targets for revocation of federal funds.
‘My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,’ Trump says in the memo, according to the Post.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responded by calling the move ‘an illegal stunt,’ saying of Trump: ‘He is not a king. He cannot ‘defund’ NYC.’
President Donald Trump is taking steps to revoke federal funds from New York City and other cities he says are descending into ‘anarchy’, according to a new report
‘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,’ the memo states.
Federal agencies must detail ‘all Federal funds provided to Seattle, Portland, New York City, Washington, D.C.’
All four cities have seen either surging crime over the summer or protests over racial injustice that have spilled into violence and riots.
Simultaneously, Trump ordered Attorney General Bill Barr to develop a list within 14 days of ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ that ‘permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures’ to restore order.
The order does not name the cities that Barr should investigate, giving the attorney general discretion as to which cities to designate.
Demonstrators raise their fists as a fire burns in the streets of Seattle in June after clashes with law enforcement near the Seattle Police Departments East Precinct
The memo also instructs White House budget director Russ Vought to issue guidance in 30 days from Wednesday ‘to the heads of agencies on restricting eligibility of or otherwise disfavoring, to the maximum extent permitted by law, anarchist jurisdictions in the receipt of Federal grants.’
The amount of funding in question could be massive, with federal grants making up $3.7 billion of DC’s annual budget, and a whopping $7 billion in New York.
Many of those funds are devoted to Medicare and social services programs, however it was not immediately clear which types of funds would be affected by the order.
‘Violence has surged’ in New York City
In the memo, Trump detailed allegations of local mismanagement against each of the cities named, saying that New York was included because violent crime has skyrocketed even as Mayor Bill de Blasio moved to defund the NYPD.
Shootings in New York soared 166 percent last month compared to August 2019, and murder rose 47 percent, according to NYPD statistics released on Wednesday.
Shootings in New York City were up 166 percent last month compared to August 2019, according to police crime statistics released Wednesday
Protesters with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement march through Manhattan and confront NYPD officers on August 24
Trump’s memo says that ‘in New York City, city officials have allowed violence to spike.’
‘In light of this unconscionable rise in violence, I have offered to provide Federal law enforcement assistance, but both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have rejected my offer,’ Trump says in the memo.
‘While violence has surged, arrests have plummeted. In a 28-day period during the months of June and July, [New York City] arrests were down 62 percent from the same period in 2019,’ the memo says.
‘Amidst the rising violence, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council agreed to cut one billion dollars from the New York Police Department (NYPD) budget, including by cancelling the hiring of 1,163 officers.’
The memo also cites NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea’s decision in June to disband the plainclothes anti-crime units, which had been responsible for targeting illegal guns and drugs on the streets.
‘Police officials have cited this decision as a factor contributing to the rise in violence,’ the memo says.
Seattle allowed lawless CHAZ to fester, memo says
The memo targets Seattle largely for allowing the ‘CHAZ’ protest zone to occupy several city blocks for nearly a month.
In early June, Black Lives Matter protesters forced the Seattle Police Department to abandon the city’s East Precinct building and commandeered the facility, establishing the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’, or CHAZ, in the surrounding blocks.
Protesters manned barricades and barred city workers from entering the zone, but the area descended into lawlessness when three separate shootings occurred on June 20, 21, and 23.
‘On July 1, Seattle declared the protest zone dismantled,’ Trump’s memo says. ‘But such failed leadership continues to harm the people of Seattle as, in recent weeks, rioters have engaged in violence and destruction of property across Seattle, resulting in at least 59 police officers being injured and multiple businesses and vehicles vandalized.’
Protesters in Seattle’s CHAZ remove a man after he attempted to preach a Christian message on the street in June. The memo names the CHAZ as a reason for defunding Seattle
Portland is targeted for ‘allowing 99 days of violent unrest’
The memo targets Portland for federal defunding for allowing weeks of nightly protests, where fires have been set and clashes with police are frequent.
Earlier this week, protesters who broke windows and set a fire to a business in the upscale apartment building where Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler lives.
Portland’s police chief denounced the incident, labeling the events an escalation in the street violence that Oregon’s largest city has endured for months.
The demonstration began late Monday and stretched into the predawn hours of Tuesday, targeting Wheeler, who is also police commissioner and has been criticized for heading up a police force that has repeatedly used tear gas against the demonstrators.
Protests are seen earlier this week in Portland, which has seen 99 nights of unrest
Portland police officers fires less lethal rounds through smoke while dispersing a crowd of about 150 people from Portland City Hall on August 25, 2020 in Portland, Oregon
The fire was set with a bundle of newspapers in a store housed on the ground floor of Wheeler’s building. There were no reports of major damage or injuries.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell said the demonstrators also wound up targeting other people who live in Wheeler’s building and have had nothing to do with the protests.
Previously, the demonstrators have almost always clashed with police outside symbols of authority – police buildings and courthouses.
‘The families that live inside have done absolutely nothing to provoke a threat to their lives. As I’ve stated repeatedly, the nightly violence is coming at increased cost,’ he said. ‘This is impacting the safety of our entire city and urgent action is needed.’