“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” the president’s memo states. “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 has directed federal officials to find ways to cut funding to a string of cities controlled by Democrats, citing violence amid protests against systemic racism in policing, a move that threatens billions of dollars for many of the country’s largest urban hubs as the president makes the unrest a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
Mr. Trump laid out the directive in a memo, released Wednesday, to Russell T. Vought, the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Attorney General William P. Barr. It accuses state and local officials of abdicating their duties.
The federal government provides funding for cities in a variety of ways. These include transportation projects, housing aid, law enforcement grants and numerous other measures. Even though the money is often approved by Congress, administration officials can attempt to cancel certain projects. The new memo asks about the legal authority for canceling certain projects.
The memo comes as the president seeks to intensify his attacks on Democratic mayors of cities that have faced civil unrest amid protests against police brutality. It specifically calls for a review of federal funding that goes to Portland, Ore.; New York City; Seattle; and D.C. Legal experts said the White House maneuver to restrict funding would almost certainly be met by an immediate challenge in court.