Washington, DC – President Donald Trump has ordered his administration conduct a review that could result in a loss of federal funding to cities that have been “permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in America,” according to a memo issued by the President on Wednesday.
Those reports will be sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for further action.
Trump specifically admonished the cities of New York, Seattle, Portland, and Washington D.C. for contributing “to the violence and destruction in their jurisdictions by failing to enforce the law, disempowering and significantly defunding their police departments, and refusing to accept offers of Federal law enforcement assistance.”
Due to city leaders’ lackadaisical approach in handling the violent rioters, “persistent and outrageous acts of violence and destruction have continued unabated” over the course of the past several months, the President said.
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. @RussVought45
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2020
Trump blasted Seattle for allowing “anarchists and rioters” to take over six square blocks for over three weeks earlier this summer in order to establish their so-called Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) “autonomous zone.”
“Notwithstanding the fact that law-abiding citizens live and work in the invaded area, the local government effectively endorsed this lawlessness and taking of property by, among other things, abandoning the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct building and forbidding the police force from intervening to restore order,” the President wrote.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan allowed the chaos to continue – at one point describing the hostile takeover as the “summer of love” – until two teens were fatally shot and at least two others were wounded.
Riots have continued since the CHOP was dismantled, injuring more than 59 Seattle police officers and leaving multiple vehicles and businesses damaged or destroyed.
The President also called out Portland city leaders for allowing rioters to destroy the downtown area for the past 100 nights.
“They have attacked Federal law enforcement personnel protecting the Federal courthouse with Molotov cocktails, mortar-style fireworks, hard projectiles, and lasers that can cause permanent blindness,” Trump said in the memo.
At least 140 federal officers have been injured in the attacks.
“For much of this period, State and local officials in Portland have taken insufficient steps to protect the Federal courthouse, and initially rejected offers of Federal law enforcement assistance,” the President added.
New York City officials “allowed looting to take place for over a week” in late May and early June, “resulting in damage to an estimated 450 businesses,” Trump wrote.
There have been 896 shootings in New York this year as of Aug. 16 – up from 492 shootings during the same period one year ago.
One of the victims was a one-year-old child.
“Shootings have been rising in recent weeks, and police reported 244 shootings last month compared to 88 in July 2019 — a 177 percent increase,” Trump noted. “While violence has surged, arrests have plummeted.”
Despite the sharp increase in violent crime, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council opted to defund the city’s police force by a staggering $1 billion, resulting in the loss of 1,163 law enforcement positions as well as other cutbacks.
The department’s plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit has also been disbanded.
“I have offered to provide Federal law enforcement assistance, but both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo have rejected my offer,” President Trump said.
In late May and early June, the President ended up having “to call in the National Guard to maintain law and order” in Washington, D.C. after Mayor Muriel Bowser “allowed rioters and anarchists to engage in violence and destruction,” he continued.
The President noted that “hundreds of billions” in taxpayer dollars are provided to states and localities by the federal government every year.
“These funds have been collected from American taxpayers who entrusted their money to the Federal Government to serve our communities and our citizens,” he wrote. “My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones.”
Trump said he ordered the review in order to “safeguard” those tax dollars to ensure they are not being “wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our Government’s promise to protect life, liberty, and property,” by cities that “permit anarchy, violence, and destruction.”
Within the next two weeks, a list of state and local “anarchist jurisdictions” that have allowed “violence and the destruction of property to persist” without taking “reasonable efforts to counteract these criminal activities” will be published on the Department of Justice website, according to the memo.
President Trump said that the OMB, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General will consider multiple factors when identifying which cities meet the definition of an “anarchist jurisdiction.”
Included in the definition are jurisdictions that forbid law enforcement “from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction,” according to the President.
Jurisdictions that have “withdrawn law enforcement protections” from areas or buildings where they are “lawfully entitled to access” may also qualify, as well as areas that have defunded or disempowered their law enforcement departments, the memo read.
Cities that “unreasonably” refuse to accept the federal government’s offers of law enforcement assistance may also be deemed as “anarchist jurisdictions.”
President Trump noted that the Attorney General’s Office may consider “other related factors” as it deems appropriate.
“Within 30 days of the date of this memorandum, the Director of OMB shall issue guidance 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 that the agency has sufficient lawful discretion to restrict or otherwise disfavor anarchist jurisdictions from receiving,” the memo read.
White House OMB Director Russ Vought praised the President’s directive to review way cities are using taxpayer dollars.
“American taxpayers who fund the great programs that our cities rely on deserve to be protected by their local city officials,” Vought told the New York Post. “We are taking action by exploring all options to ensure federal resources flowing to lawless cities aren’t being squandered.”
The budget director said that the “lack of response” from some city leaders qualifies as “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 added.
Durkan scoffed at Trump’s threat to cut funding to her city in a series of tweets on Wednesday, KIRO reported.
“President Trump cannot defund Seattle – it is unlawful,” the Seattle mayor wrote. “Surely the Attorney General has advised the President of the United States that he does not have the power to decide who gets funding based on his political interests.”
Durkan alleged that the “only anarchy zone in America, where the rule of law is disregarded, is at the White House.”
Washington Governor Jay Inslee dismissed the memorandum as a “sham,” and claimed it is “illegal,” KIRO reported.