NEW YORK MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: "You failed us. And now you want to punish us? It makes no sense."
New York leaders are pushing back against a signed memo from President Trump that threatens to cut federal funding to what he calls "lawless" cities, including Seattle, Portland, New York and Washington.
"My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones," said the memo, which was released by the White House.
The memo instructs Attorney General William Barr to develop a list of "anarchist jurisdictions" that "permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures" to restore order.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter that Trump's threat was "an illegal stunt" and that the president was trying to cut off funding that states and cities must receive to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the order was illegal, and illogical:
"The president of the Unites States, a New Yorker by birth, threatening to take away federal funding from the city while we're still in the grips of this crisis? It just makes no sense."
Patrick J. Foye, Chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subways in NYC, said with ridership still anemic , the MTA needed that federal funding to survive:
CEO: "From a ridership decline and a revenue decline, this is way worse than the Great Depression...and not only does investment in the MTA benefit New York City, the New York City business community, New York State and the tri-state region, but it also benefits the national interest, it's in the national government's issue to fund this because of the importance of New York and the importance of the MTA to New York."
Not mincing words, the governor told reporters late Wednesday that Trump "better have an army if he thinks he’s going to walk down the streets in New York."
On Twitter Cuomo added that Trump "is not a king. He cannot "defund" NYC."
Trump has repeatedly scorned cities run by Democrats as he tries to convince voters he's the candidate best suited to tackle civil unrest. But a Reuters/Ipsos poll Wednesday suggested his focus on crime as a central theme of his re-election campaign has yet to boost his political standing.
That poll showed that 40% of registered voters nationwide support Trump, compared with 47% who said they will vote for Biden.