President Donald Trump yesterday threatened to cut federal funding to cities, including Portland, Seattle, New York and Washington, D.C., that display "anarchist" tendencies.
"My Administration will not allow federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones," reads the president's memo, first reported by the New York Post. "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."
Trump, who trails Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in most polls, has seized on civil unrest in several American cities, including Portland, as an issue he can use to make up the deficit.
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a tweet that Trump's threat is an empty one.
This order is plainly illegal. Portland is not a toy in Trump’s authoritarian playset. https://t.co/Scr17k4qy1— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) September 3, 2020
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who has been locked in a war of words with Trump recently, didn't think much of the president's memo, either.
"Trump threatens to withdraw federal funds, possibly including health, education, and safety net dollars Americans are relying on to get through this pandemic and economic crisis," Wheeler said. "Once again, only progressive communities with democratic mayors, which he labels 'anarchist jurisdictions'—including Portland—are targeted.
"This is a new low, even for this president. He 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."