Opinion: Why Trump has the right to defund New York City

U.S. President Trump delivers speech at the USS Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, North Carolina
President Donald Trump.
REUTERS/Leah Millis

After telegraphing the move a few weeks ago, the Trump administration is now moving forward with plans to take away federal funds from New York, Portland, and Seattle for allowing rioting and crime to skyrocket.

These cities were declared “anarchist jurisdictions” by the Justice Department on Sept. 20, setting the stage for withholding federal tax dollars from them. 

We have all seen videos of the rioting, looting, attacks on federal buildings, harassment of innocent outdoor diners by not-so-peaceful protesters, and attacks on police with bricks, bats, and molotov cocktails that have taken place in recent months in these three cities.

The rate of shootings here in New York — which has nearly doubled year-to-date compared to last year — is proof of City Hall being unwilling to protect innocent residents.

Rather than taking aggressive actions to restore law and order, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have made cuts to the NYPD budget, disbanded the Street Crime Unit which long helped to get guns off our streets, and emboldened criminals with their anti-police rhetoric.

Is it really so wrong for President Donald Trump to want these cities to perform their most basic function, which is to provide for public safety and protect innocent Americans? As Attorney General William Barr said, “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities…will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic functions of government and start protecting their own citizens.” 

Most law abiding New Yorkers, including the relatives of those that have been shot and killed over the past few months, would probably agree.

The move to strongly persuade these cities to control rioters and crime, as the Trump administration is clearly trying to do with this action, could not come at a better time.

It seems rabble-rousers are just looking for any excuse to protest and cause chaos these days. For example, almost 100 people calling for the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement were recently taken in on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Manhattan.

With President Trump announcing that he will make a nomination to replace Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the Supreme Court and the Senate set to move forward with a confirmation, does anyone doubt this will be the latest reason for the left-wing mobs to wreak havoc on our cities? 

President Trump has said he offered federal law enforcement assistance to New York to quell the violence. Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have allegedly refused it.

Therefore, stronger efforts are needed to persuade them to perform their most basic function to maintain public order and safety. For the sake of the additional lives that surely will be lost with the status quo, let’s hope these cities finally get the message.

Bob Capano has worked for Brooklyn Republican and Democrat elected officials, and has been an adjunct political science professor for over 15 years. Follow him on twitter @bobcapano.