In a stark warning to New York City, Portland, Washington, D.C., and Seattle, President Donald Trump sent a memo out this week ordering his administration to review the federal funds currently being dispersed to these cities. Trump said in the memo that it may not make sense to continue funding these cities with federal taxpayer money if the Democratic leaders in those areas aren’t going to take responsibility for crime and safety.
“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” Trump wrote. “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 called on Attorney General William Barr to compile additional “anarchist jurisdictions that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures” to bring law and order back to the streets.
In the memo, Trump specifically called out Democratic leaders in New York for allowing violence to run rampant while simultaneously refusing to accept his offer to send in federal agents to help quell the spike.
“While violence has surged, arrests have plummeted,” Trump said in the memo. “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.”
Trump also criticized D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who “allowed rioters and anarchists to engage in violence and destruction in late May and early June, requiring me to call in the National Guard to maintain law and order in the Nation’s Capital.”
While we somewhat understand the impetus behind these orders – Trump wants to pressure these leaders to step up their game – it strikes us as poor psychology moving into the last months before the election. The Democrats and their “defund the police” efforts have handed Republicans a winning message for 2020. Why muddy it by giving Democrats the chance to point and say, “Well, look who is actually going to defund the police!”