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The Trump Administration Wants To Pull Federal Funds From Major Cities Where There Are Anti-Racism Protests

The memo comes as Trump has politicized the national movement against systemic racism and police brutality.

Last updated on September 2, 2020, at 8:37 p.m. ET

Posted on September 2, 2020, at 7:39 p.m. ET

Trump talks while standing with people wearing facemasks near the remains of a building
Mandel Ngan / Getty Images

President Donald Trump in Kenosha on Sept. 1.

The Trump administration plans to review federal funds provided to Seattle, Washington, DC, New York City, and Portland, cities where "outrageous acts of violence and destruction have continued unabated," according to a memo signed by the president Wednesday.

Within two weeks, the White House will issue guidance to the heads of federal agencies to submit a report on the federal funds provided to the four cities.

In addition, Attorney General Bill Barr will publish a list “identifying State and local jurisdictions that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities (anarchist jurisdictions).”

The memorandum would signal the latest escalation between the Trump administration and cities in which large-scale protests have taken place against systemic racism in the wake of high profile police killings of Black people. Since July, Trump administration officials have attacked Portland officials, most notably Mayor Ted Wheeler, for not doing enough to protect federal property and shut down protests.

The memo directs officials to consider factors such as whether the city cut funding for police or restricted local law enforcement from intervening to “restore order.” In a month, the budget director at the White House then plans to issue guidance to agencies on restricting eligibility for federal grants to the “anarchist jurisdictions.”

The New York Post first reported the memo on Wednesday.

This would not be the first time the administration has sought to cut federal funding from local jurisdictions. In 2017, Trump officials sought to cut federal funds from several “sanctuary jurisdictions” — those that have policies restricting cooperation between local law enforcement and immigration officials — but were blocked by federal courts.

The memo comes as administration officials have sought to promote a message — during the height of the presidential campaign — that “Democrat-run” cities are under siege. In an interview earlier this week, Trump told Fox News that Portland had been burning for years, which is a gross exaggeration of protests in the city.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.