White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday slammed the “feckless” rule of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in defending President Trump’s memo ordering the possible defunding of New York and other “lawless” cities.
“Why now? Because in New York City you’ve seen a 177 percent increase in shootings in July. Meanwhile, you have the feckless government of Mayor de Blasio, and Governor Cuomo, pulling $1 billion — with a B — from NYPD at the same time we learned on that in a 28-day period, arrests were down in New York City by 62 percent,” McEnany said at a White House press briefing.
Trump’s defunding order was first reported by The Post on Wednesday and sparked fury in New York, with Cuomo saying Trump would be unsafe in the city without “an army” to protect him.
McEnany said the order seeks to incentivize cities to follow riot-ravaged Minneapolis and Kenosha, Wis., and work with federal officials to address a surge in shootings and crack down on violent unrest linked to the May killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police.
The Harvard Law School graduate cited the 1987 Supreme Court ruling in South Dakota v. Dole, which upheld the central government’s coercion of states to adopt a 21-year-old drinking age or lose highway funds, as granting authority to defund cities.
McEnany declined to say what funds could be impacted.
The federal government contributes about $7 billion to New York City’s annual budget. Washington, DC, Portland and Seattle are also targeted in the defunding order, which requires White House budget director Russ Vought to issue guidance within 30 days on what funds to yank.
McEnany said Trump is serious about the threat, when pressed by a journalist who noted the president previously threatened to designate the Antifa movement a terrorist organization — something not possible because it’s not a centralized organization.
“The president will follow through. His memo is exceedingly clear,” she said.
To avoid a funding withdrawal, “we’d have to see a radical change in behavior from the mayor of DC who allowed a church to burn, from the mayor of Portland, who stood with the protesters only to be chased out of his own home, windows shattered of his building by the very protesters he deemed peaceful,” McEnany said.
“Now is the right time when you see numbers like this because lives are at stake, and oftentimes the lives of innocent little babies who should be here today if Democrat mayors got their act together, didn’t cut funding from police and did start arresting people and enforced the laws.”
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