A White House memorandum detailing plans to assess and potentially cut funding from cities guilty of mishandling federal budgets and allowing crime to skyrocket set U.S. President Donald J. Trump against the Democratic leadership of the four states and cities mentioned in the document.
Minutes after the memo was published, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threw an emergency press conference in a temper tantrum while suggesting the President ought to have his own bodyguards if he ever dare set foot in New York City again.
The five page memo amounts to a set of instructions and guidelines for the U.S. Attorney General (AG) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for reviewing any federal funding going to state and local government recipients that are permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities.
The memo states that within 14 days of the date of the memorandum, reports are to be issued to the Director of the OMB detailing all Federal funds provided to Seattle, Portland, New York City, Washington, D.C. and for State and local jurisdictions that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities and a list of these jurisdictions are to be posted on the Department of Justice website by the U.S. Attorney General in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of OMB. Within 30 days of the memo, the Director of the OMB has the authority to restrict eligibility of funds to these entities.
President Trump said in the memo, “The Federal Government provides States and localities with hundreds of billions of dollars every year, which fund a wide array of programs, such as housing, public transportation, job training, and social services. These funds have been collected from American taxpayers who entrusted their money to the Federal Government to serve our communities and our citizens.”
“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones. 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. It is also critical to ensure that Federal grants are used effectively, to safeguard taxpayer dollars entrusted to the Federal Government for the benefit of the American people.” .
President Trump provided examples of the lawlessness and chaos over the last several months in Seattle, Portland, New York City and Washington D.C. He also said that American taxpayers from around the country should not be subjected to the burden of paying for the mismanagement of funds and resources from these Democratic mayors.
“As a result of these State and local government policies, persistent and outrageous acts of violence and destruction have continued unabated in many of America’s cities, such as Portland, Seattle, and New York,” the memo says.
About Washington, DC’s urban leadership, the memo says, “Mayor Muriel Bowser 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.”
Trump’s set of instructions aligns with his 2020 campaign promise to restore ‘Law and Order’ as it lists criteria that must be met going forward in order for these cities to receive further funding — basically, curbing the violence and restoring the rule of law.
The instructions can not be met by defunding the police. They can not be met by being soft on crime. The message is clear–if you want federal funding, clean up your mess.
The memorandum was met with enthusiasm by many in the Trump Administration including White House OMB Director Russ Vought who will oversee the evaluation.
Vought told the NY Post, “American taxpayers who fund the great programs that our cities rely on deserve to be protected by their local city officials.”
“We are taking action by exploring all options to ensure federal resources flowing to lawless cities aren’t being squandered. The lack of law and order surrounding these riots, and response from local leadership, is a dereliction of duty. Our men and women in blue cannot be handcuffed by local leadership in their efforts to respond to riots and protect their fellow citizens.”
Others were livid about the memo, including New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“He 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,” he said at an emergency news conference.
Although by the end he tried to backdown from his threats, he already ratched it up: “He can’t have enough bodyguards to walk through New York City, people don’t want to have anything to do with him.”
The lost revenue will be felt by each state. The official said Portland, the smallest city on the list, got more than $252 million in federal funds in fiscal 2019, including for police operations.
New York City receives about $7 Billion a year.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, mentioned by name in the memo, has already threatened to fire emergency workers, EMS, cops, firefighters and teachers to make up a matching $7 billion budget deficit brought on by the crisis, after a $1 billion was wiped from the police budget in response to the national outcry to “defund the police” — in other words, the city really needs $15 billion in federal funding to balance its books.