In an announcement on Monday, Attorney General William Barr officially designated three American cities as “anarchist jurisdictions” that will likely be defunded by the federal government for their failure to stand up to rioting, looting, and outrageous “autonomous zones.”
The move does not come as a complete surprise; The New York Post reported last week that the administration was getting ready to take action against New York City, Portland, and Seattle.
That report was not denied by the president, who tweeted Wednesday: “My Administration will do everything in its power to prevent weak mayors and lawless cities from taking Federal dollars while they let anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses. We’re putting them on notice today.”
In his remarks Monday, Barr said the Democrats who run these cities have done nothing to keep their citizens safe from harm.
“When state and local leaders impede their own law-enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” 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.”
According to the aforementioned report from the Post, Trump signed a five-page memo that orders all federal agencies to figure out immediately which funds can be withheld from the cities in question.
“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” the memo stated. “To ensure that Federal funds are neither unduly wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our Government’s promise to protect life, liberty, and property, 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.”
Loss of federal funds would be devastating to the three cities, and there is no doubt that all three will challenge any attempt to do so in legal suits. Whether or not Trump succeeds in getting the money back, perhaps the mere threat (and public humiliation) will be enough to convince those cities that it’s time to actually take action against the criminal anarchists in their jurisdictions.
Okay, probably not, but it’s worth a shot.