New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio dismissed the White House memo as another in a long line of political “stunts.” | Scott Heins/Getty Images
NEW YORK — Top state Democrats joined Gov. Andrew Cuomo in ridiculing President Donald Trump after he threatened to kill federal funding for New York and other cities that “permit anarchy, violence, and destruction.”
Trump has ordered a review of cities’ treatment of law enforcement, threatening to ax funding for any jurisdictions that are defunding or disempowering police departments within the next 30 days. His memo specifically targets New York, Seattle, Portland and Washington, D.C.
Cuomo immediately summoned reporters on a conference call Wednesday night after the president’s memo was reported by the New York Post and said Trump “better have an army if he thinks he’s gonna walk down the street in New York. New Yorkers don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
On Thursday morning, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said what the president proposed was unconstitutional and dismissed the White House memo as another in a long line of political “stunts.”
“This is clearly the president just trying to score political points but the problem is the Constitution doesn’t agree with him and the Supreme Court doesn’t agree with him,” he said. “You cannot hold back federal funding over a political difference or even a policy difference once it has been allocated by the Congress.”
He said the city would take legal action if the president proceeds with his plans.
“This is another one of his blusters that’ll go nowhere, but if he really tries it we will go to court and I guarantee you we’ll beat him again,” he added.
Rep. Yvette Clarke dismissed the memo as a “partisan move” and said Congress has targeted close to $12 billion for New York City under the HEROES Act, H.R. 6800 (116), noting that the figure to which Trump has referred is inaccurate.
“We need to stay focused on navigating our city through this crisis,” Clarke said. “He does not have the authority to defund any cities in this nation and we will certainly use every authority we have in the Congress to make sure that he does not begin manipulating federal agencies in terms of how the funds that we’re due are disrupted in any form or fashion.”
The president fired off more angry tweets Thursday morning in response to Cuomo.
“[Cuomo] should get his puppet New York prosecutors, who have been illegally after me and my family for years, to investigate his incompetent handling of the China Virus, and all of the deaths caused by this incompetence. It is at minimum a Nursing Home Scandal – 11,000 DEAD!” the president said.
Cuomo, meanwhile, ranted about the president for a second day. He responded to Trump’s tweets by dusting off his longstanding argument that “the Covid problem in New York was a function of the federal government’s negligence.”
“This nation has not been attacked by an enemy that has killed more and ravaged more than Covid since World War II,” the governor said on another conference call. “And the president as commander-in-chief has been an abysmal failure in the war against Covid … If this was an actual war, he could be court-martialed for dereliction of duty.”