President Trump is seeking to cut what could amount to billions of dollars in federal funding to several Democratic-run cities in response to "anarchy, violence, and destruction." In a Wednesday memo, Trump directed Attorney General William Barr and Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought to find ways to cut funding to the cities, per the New York Times. He mentions Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Washington; and New York but directs Barr to identify "anarchist jurisdictions" using any factors he "deems appropriate" within 14 days. The memo suggests looking at any jurisdiction that "disempowers or defunds police,” blocks police from restoring order, or "unreasonably refuses" law enforcement help from the federal government. "My administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones," Trump wrote.
Vought is instructed to work with heads of agencies to restrict access to federal grants "to the maximum extent permitted by law" within 30 days. Democrats immediately derided the proposal as illegal, saying it impedes on Congress' power of the purse. The Times describes New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as "furious": He called the memo "another attempt to kill New York City," and added "the best thing he did for New York City was leave. Good riddance. Let him go to Florida. Be careful not to get COVID." CNN notes Trump's previous attempts to withhold aid to cities that prevented federal immigration authorities from working with local law enforcement were "largely blocked by federal courts." Still, numerous US cities have seen a rise in gun violence and other crimes this year. New York City has already surpassed 1,000 shootings, making this the worst year for gun violence since 2015. (Read more President Trump stories.)