The Department of Justice has come out to designate three U.S. cities as an “anarchist jurisdiction” in the wake of protests and what they believe is upheaval in some of the nation’s cities.
New York City, Seattle, and Portland are said to “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” according to the Department of Justice under guidelines issued by President Trump earlier this month.
On Sept. 2, the president issued a memo directing the department to identify jurisdictions that, in its view, were not enforcing the law appropriately. Designated cities could lose their federal funding.
“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed the department’s label and Trump’s claim in a press conference call with reporters Monday.
“I understand the politics, but when you try to manipulate and distort government agencies to play politics, which is what the Trump administration has done from day one… this is more of the same,” Cuomo said. “The president can’t supersede the law and say I’m going to make those funds basically discretionary funds, which is what he would have to do.”
The order gives the director of the Office of Management and Budget 30 days to issue guidance to federal agencies on restricting eligibility for federal grants for the cities on the Department of Justice’s list. The grants make up a large part of the city’s annual budget.
In order to justify their decision and proclamations the Department of Justice cited New York City’s rise in gun violence, cuts to police budget and not prosecuting protestors.
“If they actually do this, we will challenge it legally, and they will lose once again,” Cuomo added.
“I was out in Elmhurst, Queens, this morning, I saw peace, tranquility, I saw people going about their business, people excited that it’s the first day of school – I saw anything but anarchy. This is just another one of President Trump’s games,” New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio said Monday at a press conference. “It’s insulting to the people of New York City and his effort to withhold our funding is unconstitutional.”