The mayor announced that the city of New York, along with the cities of Seattle and Portland, will be filing a joint lawsuit against the White House on Thursday over the Trump administration’s move to withhold federal funds from cities it has deemed “anarchist.”
“You want to believe your federal government is going to do the right thing for you and really try in every way to help us in everything we do for everyday New Yorkers, but we've experienced just the opposite,” de Blasio said.
The city is expected to lose about $12 billion in federal funding, according to the city’s Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson. The lawsuit is being filed in Seattle, another city the Trump administration has labeled an "anarchist jurisdiction."
“In our western sister cities, we've seen deployment of federal troops in battle dress uniforms and that's the appropriate place for this suit to get started,” Johnson said.
This lawsuit comes weeks after Mayor de Blasio’s promise to sue the White House after the Trump administration issued its "anarchist" memorandum, demanding a review and potential cutting of federal funds for jurisdictions that allegedly allow violence and anarchy. New York City, along with several other Democrat-led cities, is mentioned specifically in the memo.
According to Johnson, the federal government is overstepping its bounds with this move to withhold funds and is operating without a legal basis under this “anarchist” designation. He also said it violates the principle of federalism in determining how cities should police its streets and how it should spend its funding.
“This is a figment of Donald Trump’s troubled imagination,” de Blasio said. “The only anarchy in this country is coming from the White House.”
The $12 billion at stake in city funding encompasses a wide range of needs including Health & Human Services, law enforcement and transit, according to Johnson. The city’s operating budget is $97 billion, he said, and is facing major strains brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayor expressed confidence with the lawsuit and said he expected it to move along quickly.
“As much as Donald Trump has tried to tear down American democracy, it’s still alive,” he said. “The court system is still rendering judgements based on the law. This is just unbelievably unconstitutional.”