Donald Trump has threatened the central funding of cities typically run by the Democratic party, after some protests in the US led to violence.
The US president signed a memo on Wednesday targeting cities such as Seattle, Portland, New York and
Washington DC, which he described as “lawless zones”.
It comes after his visit to Kenosha, Wisconsin on Tuesday, which has seen buildings razed to the ground following protests over the shooting of black man Jacob Blake by police – the latest in a line of demonstrations in the US.
Wednesday’s memo instructs the US attorney general William Barr to compile a list of “anarchist jurisdictions” that “permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures”.
Mr Trump has also asked the White House budget director Russell Vought to issue guidance within 30 days “to the heads of agencies on restricting eligibility of or otherwise disfavouring, to the maximum extent permitted by law, anarchist jurisdictions in the receipt of federal grants.”
The president has used the violence in areas like Portland and Seattle to attack Democrats, claiming the cities they run are dangerous, as part of his re-election campaign.
Last week, he used his Republican presidential candidate nomination acceptance speech to condemn the violence in those cities, appearing to set law and order as one of his key election themes.
Vice-President Mike Pence also used his speech to talk about lawlessness, demanding the country returns to law and order.
Since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in May, the commander-in-chief has frequently sent the national guard to cities where Black Lives Matter protests, which were often peaceful, took place to enforce law and order.
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After Mr Trump signed his memo on Wednesday, New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo accused him of trying to cut off much-needed funding to help recover from coronavirus,
Mr Cuomo tweeted: “He is not a king. He cannot ‘defund’ NYC.
“It’s an illegal stunt.”