Trump Seeks To Cut Federal Funding To Select U.S. Cities, NYC Included
According to The New York Times, President Donald Trump “has directed federal officials to find ways to cut funding to a string of cities controlled by Democrats, citing violence amid protests against systemic racism in policing.”
- The move would threaten “billions of dollars for many of the country’s largest urban hubs as the president makes the unrest a centerpiece of his re-election campaign,” the report notes.
- Trump issued the directive in a Wednesday memo to “Russell T. Vought, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Attorney General William P. Barr.”
“Anarchy has recently beset some of our states and cities,” Mr. Trump wrote in the memo, mentioning a few cities specifically: Portland, Ore.; Washington; Seattle; and the president’s birth city, New York. “My administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones.”
- The memo, titled “Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence and Destruction in American Cities,” will almost certainly face legal challenges, The Times reported.
- A spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio responded to the news on Twitter, writing: “As much as Donald Trump wants New York City to drop dead, we will never let this stand. This has nothing to do with ‘law and order’. This is a racist campaign stunt out of the Oval Office to attack millions of people of color.”
- Indeed, the memo appeared directed toward de Blasio, The Times wrote, as well as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — two Democrats who “have been critical of the federal response to the coronavirus.”
- “The memo went on at length about the recent rise in crime in New York City, and Mr. de Blasio’s recent agreement to cut $1 billion in funding to the New York Police Department,” the report continued.
- Trump gave Barr 14 days to identify “anarchist jurisdictions” where officials have “permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures,” but The Times noted that it does not mention specific cities.
- In addition, “Vought has 30 days to direct ‘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,’ according to the memo.”
A furious Mr. Cuomo, in an evening conference call with reporters, said the president’s letter was “another attempt to kill New York City,” where the president was long a resident and developer before officially moving to Florida last year. “Everything that he could possibly do in his power to hurt New York City he has done,” Mr. Cuomo said, adding: “The best thing he did for New York City was leave. Good riddance. Let him go to Florida. Be careful not to get Covid.”
Mr. Cuomo also derided the president as thinking he was “a king.”
“It’s cheap, it’s political, it’s gratuitous, and it’s illegal,” the governor said of the memo. Mr. Trump, he said, “better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the street in New York.”