Mayors Respond to Trump’s Threat to Defund ‘Anarchist’ Cities: ‘See You in Court’

September 3, 2020 Updated: September 3, 2020

Democratic mayors responded forcefully to President Donald Trump’s threat to redirect federal funds from cities that are permitting anarchy.

“We will see you in court,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a message directed to Trump during his press conference on Thursday, calling the president’s move “very, very troubling.”

“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. It just makes no sense,” de Blasio told reporters.

The mayors of Portland, Seattle, Washington, and New York City issued a joint statement saying their residents “are not President Trump’s political pawns.

“We are confronting unprecedented challenges—fighting back a pandemic and economic devastation without another stimulus. Now, instead of leadership from the White House, we are faced with new attacks that are unlawful, unconstitutional and will be undoubtedly defeated in court,” Ted Wheeler, Jenny Durkan, Muriel Bowser, and de Blasio wrote.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler speaks to the media at City Hall in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 30, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

“President Trump needs to wake up to the reality facing our cities—and our entire country—and realize he is not above the law,” they added.

Durkan, in a separate statement, called Trump’s move “the latest attempt to distract from the fact that COVID-19 has infected over 6 million Americans, killed 185,000 people, and destroyed the American economy.”

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“The only anarchy zone in America, where the rule of law is disregarded, is at the White House,” added Durkan, who tolerated a so-called autonomous zone in her city until two people were shot dead in the mayhem there.

Trump’s order directs Russ Vought, the director of the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, to detail all federal funds sent to Seattle, Portland, Washington, and New York City, and the authorities available to withhold funds.

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President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on Sept. 2, 2020. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Factors that will be considered by the Trump administration include whether city officials cut funding to police departments. Lawmakers in all four cities chose to slash funding to the police this year.

“Federal taxpayer dollars provided to States and localities each year are being wasted by reckless policies and the destruction of property in cities across our Nation,” the White House said in a statement about the memo.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the order during a press conference in Washington on Thursday.

“The president believes that … the purpose of government is to protect life, liberty, and property,” she said.

Pointing to the number of officers injured during continued rioting in Portland and skyrocketing crime in New York, she added, “This is a dereliction of duty. And if the states will not act in their police power and secure their streets, this president will use every lawful mechanism available to him to try to supplement their failures.”

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