Mayors Call On Trump To Rescind Memo On Defunding ‘Anarchist’ Cities

TOPLINE

The U.S. Conference of Mayors on Monday sent an open letter to President Trump urging him to rescind a recent memo ordering the government to review how it can cut funding from “anarchist jurisdictions.” 

KEY FACTS

In the memorandum issued last week, President Trump instructed the White House’s budget office to provide guidance to federal agencies on how to restrict money to cities that defund police departments or refuse assistance from federal law enforcement.

That money would include programs supporting housing, public transportation, job training, and social services, the memo said. 

The memo identified Seattle, Portland, and New York City as cities where “violence and destruction have continued unabated” in the wake of protests against systemic racism and police brutality over the summer sparked by the death of George Floyd. 

Trump’s edict has already prompted pushback from legal experts and, and the mayors group, which represents more than 1,400 cities with populations above 30,000, said it will bring a legal challenge if the memo is officially implemented. 

Crucial quote

“This Memorandum has no legal standing and, if implemented, The United States Conference of Mayors will challenge it in court,” the letter reads. “We strongly urge you to immediately rescind the Memorandum and halt the process of attempting to defund critical city services.” 

Big number

$1 trillion. That’s how much new aid for states and cities Democratic lawmakers proposed in the Heroes Act, passed by the House of Representatives in May. White House negotiators have said they’re willing to support another $150 billion more (on top of the $150 billion already provided by the CARES Act), but Democrats say that sum isn’t nearly enough to cover the massive budget shortfalls states and cities are facing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  

Key background

Trump has often repeated his claim that the most dangerous cities in the United States are run by Democrats, though drawing a causal relationship between rates of crime and Democratic leadership is not possible, a Washington Post fact-check found. This isn’t the first time Trump has suggested withholding aid to cities and states with policies he doesn’t like: he’s also floated the idea of tying federal stimulus money for coronavirus recovery to sanctuary city policies. 

Further reading

Trump Orders Review Into Cutting Federal Funds To ‘Anarchist Jurisdictions’ (Forbes)

Trump keeps claiming that the most dangerous cities in America are all run by Democrats. They aren’t. (Washington Post)

Trump Suggests That Federal Bailouts For States Could Depend On Sanctuary City Policies (Forbes)

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