US President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One after returning to Washington from travel to Wilmington, North Carolina at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, on September 2, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)
US President Donald Trump has threatened to cut federal funding to Democratic cities he described as "lawless zones," where he has already deployed federal forces to counter unrest provoked by racism and police brutality.
Trump signed a memo on Wednesday, directing federal officials to find ways to cut funding to cities, including Seattle, Portland, New York and Washington.
"My administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones," he wrote in the memo.
The president instructed Attorney General William Barr to develop a list of "anarchist jurisdictions" that "permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures" to restore order.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reacted to the decision in a message on Twitter, saying, Trump was trying to cut off funding that states and cities must receive to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
"He is not a king. He cannot ‘defundí NYC," Cuomo said. "Itís an illegal stunt."
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also criticized Trump, saying the US presidentís call was a tactic that would further divide Americans when the country desperately needed leadership that could bring people together.
"It seems the only place where there is no respect for the rule of law is the White House," she said.
Durkan said she did not believe that Trump could "defund" cities, calling the actions unlawful.
Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler also tweeted that Trump "continues to believe that disenfranchising people living in this country to advance his petty grudges is an effective political strategy."
"The rest of us know it is dangerous, destructive, and divisive," he wrote.
Trump has already deployed federal troops to crack down on protests in Portland, Oregon, which has been the scene of demonstrations for over 90 days.
Protests were sparked in Portland over the death of African American George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25.
Portland protesters target mayorís home
Angry protesters gathered outside the Portland mayorís apartment, calling for Ted Wheelerís resignation over police violence during the recent rallies.
That prompted Wheeler to tell residents of the building in downtown Portland that he would move to a new home.
"I want to express my sincere apologies for the damage to our home and the fear that you are experiencing due to my position," he wrote.
Portland police arrested 19 people, who graffitied the walls of the building, smashed windows and threw burning material inside.
Wheeler has called on the city to join him in "denouncing violence" which he blamed on Trump.
The shooting by a white police officer of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, in front of his children during an arrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 23 has renewed anti-racism protests in the US.
President Trump has seized on "civil unrest" in Portland and other cities to criticize Democratic leaders and call for "law and order" ahead of the November 3 election.
SOURCE: PRESS TV