New York Democrats on Monday trashed President Trump after the Justice Department placed the Big Apple on a list of “anarchist jurisdictions” eligible to lose federal funds — with Mayor Bill de Blasio claiming the decision was “all about race.”
De Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the threat to yank funds from New York was a shameless move by President Trump to boost his reelection campaign, rather than a sincere effort to discourage cities from tolerating violent protests or cutting cops during violent crime waves.
“It’s all about race and it’s all about attempts to divide and to enthrall his base by attacking ‘the other’,” de Blasio said. “This is what this guy does, it’s the only trick in his book. You gotta go back to the 1980s when he called for the execution of the Central Park Five.”
“He turns his attention, which he wants to associate with people of color — in another way, of course, he wants to associate with Democrats and progressives,” Hizzoner said. “He treats them as ‘the other’, he tries to convince a lot of people in this country that we all are the problem and he will save his voters from all of us.”
Cuomo told reporters the move was “a continuation of his political theme” of being a “law and order candidate”
New York made the Justice Department’s list in part because its city council approved a budget in July that trimmed or transferred to other departments nearly $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion annual budget— even as murders and shootings soared.
In July, the number of shootings in New York City skyrocketed 177 percent over the same period last year, and there was a 59 percent rise in murders. In August, city shootings soared 165 percent, while murders jumped about 50 percent.
The Justice Department said it also considered the fact that at least some of the city’s district attorneys have declined to prosecute people arrested for disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly during recent protests linked to George Floyd’s killing in May by Minnesota police.
“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.
Barr also designated Portland, Ore., and Seattle as “anarchist jurisdictions,” pursuant to a Sept. 2 memo signed by Trump. Within two weeks, the White House budget office will issue instructions to federal agencies on how to withdraw federal money.
It is not yet clear what funds are likely to be cut, but the amount of money siphoned from New York City could be massive, given New York City gets about $7 billion in annual federal aid. Trump administration officials told The Post that further cuts to law enforcement efforts are unlikely.
Other New York officials piled on against the latest development.
“Not only is it unconstitutional, the designation of anarchy doesn’t even pass a common-sense test,” added City Hall’s top lawyer, Corporation Counsel James Johnson. “If need be, in addition to our legal filings, we can send a dictionary.”
Cuomo vowed to sue — pointing to some favorable federal court rulings in cases against Trump pulling funds from “sanctuary” jurisdictions that refuse to help deport illegal immigrants. Federal appeals courts are divided on the legality of that action.
“If they actually do this we will challenge it legally and he will lose once again,” Cuomo said.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a recent press briefing that the federal defunding of cities is legal under the 1987 South Dakota v. Dole Supreme Court decision involving the establishment of a national drinking age of 21.
In his remarks, de Blasio ridiculed the Justice Department’s decision.
“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,” de Blasio said.
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