President Donald Trump is ordering the federal government to begin the process of defunding New York City because of protests and rising crime rates.
The move drew a heated response from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who called Trump "the worst president in history" from the point of view of New York City.
Trump on Wednesday signed a memo ordering all federal agencies to identify funds that can be redirected away from cities the administration has determined have "permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities (anarchist jurisdictions)."
“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” Trump said in the memo.
In a conference call Wednesday evening, Cuomo fired back, saying that the move is a political stunt and that the president of the United States doesn’t have the authority to actually defund states or cities.
"From the point of view of New York City, this has been the worst president in history," Cuomo said. "President Ford said, 'drop dead.' President Trump has actively been trying to kill New York City ever since he's been elected. And it's a personal animus, as it normally is with the president. I think it's because he's from New York City, and New York City rejected him, always. He was dismissed as a clown in New York City. Those who know him best like him least."
Federal funds go towards community development, social services, Medicaid funding, health funding, and homeland security, according to the governor.
The memo comes as Trump tries to make “law and order” the center of a presidential campaign that has shown him trailing Joe Biden in the polls.
A spokesperson for Mayor de Blasio said, "This has nothing to do with "law and order". This is a racist campaign stunt out of the Oval Office to attack millions of people of color."
“It’s more of the same from him. It’s cheap, it’s gratuitous, and it’s illegal,” Cuomo said. “It’s another attempt to kill New York City.”
The governor also emphasized that Trump should be more concerned about the Americans dying of coronavirus.