The fight between the Trump administration and cities in the U.S. just heated up a bit. Following the guidelines of a memo issued by President Trump earlier this month, the Department of Justice just designated New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington as anarchist jurisdictions.
The Department said:
The three cities “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” leading to their designation as “anarchist jurisdictions.”
The designations aren’t idle chatter. Trump’s memo instructed the Office of Management and Budget to formulate plans for restricting eligibility for federal grants for any city labeled as an anarchist jurisdiction within 30 days. New York City counts on such grants for more than $7 billion per year.
The mayors of the three cities, as well as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, weren’t amused.
“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. If they actually do this, we will challenge it legally, and they will lose once again.”
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said:
“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.”
The mayors and governor are likely correct in that the Trump administration can’t change the qualifications for federal grants, that happens in Congress. But it all makes for interesting political theater and gives the administration the chance to call the cities anarchist jurisdictions on television over and over.