Fresh from publicly encouraging his supporters to commit voter fraud and vote for him twice, President Trump on Tuesday issued a memo announcing the federal government’s plans to cut off “lawless zones” from federal funding.
The five-page document, sent to Attorney General Bill Barr and director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought, claims that “anarchy” is taking over Democratic-run cities and calls for a review of federal funds given to Seattle, Portland, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The document also leaves the door open for other cities to be targeted.
“For the past few months, several state and local governments have contributed 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,” Trump said.
“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,” he said, singling out New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser.
The memo gives Barr a two-week deadline to compile and make public a list of designated “anarchist jurisdictions,” which Trump says will be defined primarily by how forcefully authorities allowed local police to respond to recent protests.
Vought will then have 30 days to provide 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.”
In a tweet coinciding with the release of the memo, Trump boasted of putting “weak mayors” on notice for what he described as them “letting anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses.”
The memo, in line with Trump’s “law and order” posturing ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election, appears to further solidify the administration’s stance on nationwide protests against racial inequality—namely that there is no problem with racial inequality and any protests claiming otherwise are part of a nefarious criminal plot by black-clad, soup-lobbing members of antifa.
Trump mentions instances of violence in Seattle, Portland, Washington, D.C., and New York City during months of what he describes as rioting, but he makes no mention of the police killings of Black men that sparked the protests.