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Far-left Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed Thursday to sue over President Donald Trump’s recent actions seeking ways to redirect federal funds away from U.S. cities the commander in chief says have permitted “anarchy” amid nationwide riots.
What are the details?
The New York Post broke the news Wednesday that President Trump sent a 5-page memo to federal agencies wherein he writes:
My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones. 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 president named Portland, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and New York City as preliminary targets, and The Post noted that de Blasio was mentioned twice in the president’s order.
On Thursday, De Blasio — who has repeatedly asked the federal government to bail out his city citing revenue losses due to COVID-19 lockdowns — released a video responding to President Trump’s move, and promised to fight back with legal action.
“The president of the United States — a New Yorker by birth — threatening to take away federal funding from this city while we’re still in the grips of this crisis,” de Blasio begins in his recorded statement. “It just makes no sense.”
The mayor said this is “a time when we should be seeing solidarity with New York City, support for New York City, understanding for New York City, and we’re seeing the opposite.”
De Blasio then addressed President Trump directly, saying the Supreme Court has already determined that presidents cannot interfere with funding appropriated to cities.
In a tweet posting the video, de Blasio wrote, “We asked @realDonaldTrump to do his job. We asked him for COVID-19 testing and for a stimulus to help us get back on our feet. He refused to lift a finger. He failed New York City. And now he wants to threaten us? We’ll see you in court, Mr. President.”
New York City has seen more deaths from COVID-19 than anywhere in the U.S., partially attributed to its high population density. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has faced heavy criticism for his policies early on in the crisis requiring coronavirus-positive patients to be placed in nursing homes amid vulnerable elderly patients.
But Trump’s threat to pull federal funds is aimed at leaders for their policies against law enforcement during the rioting that has been ongoing since the death of George Floyd in late May.
The president wrote in his memo:
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.
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. 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.
Police officials have cited this decision as a factor contributing to the rise in violence.