In a joint statement, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan accused US President Donald Trump’s administration of playing politics and said that withholding federal funds would be illegal.
“It is very political and unconstitutional. The president plays cheap political games with funds directed by Congress. Our cities bring communities together; our cities are moving forward after battling a pandemic and facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, despite the recklessness and partisanship of the White House, ”they said.
Many cities in the United States have experienced unrest since the May 25 death of George Floyd in police custody. In some cases, protests have turned into violence and looting.
The federal government has launched a campaign to disperse the violence, including sending federal agents to Portland and Seattle and encouraging federal prosecutors to lay charges.
The Justice Department last week urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity.
Monday’s threat to revoke federal funds was the government’s latest escalation in its quest to curb the protests.
It comes after Trump issued a memo earlier this month outlining criteria to be considered when considering funding for states and cities that “allow lawlessness, violence and destruction in American cities. “.
The criteria include things such as whether a city prohibits the police from intervening or whether it disseminates its police force.
In all three cities, the Justice Department said, leaders rejected efforts to allow federal law enforcement officials to intervene and restore order, among other things.
|Portland protests: Mayor blames Trump after filming|
At a press briefing earlier Monday, New York City Corporation attorney Jim Johnson pledged a legal battle if the Trump administration proceeds with the withdrawal of funds.
“The president does not have the power to change the will of Congress,” he said.
“The designation ‘anarchy’ does not even pass the common sense test. If necessary, we can send, in addition to our legal repositories, a dictionary. Because what we have in New York is not anarchy. ”