"We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance," AG Barr said.
The list of three cities was published in response to the president’s 2 September memorandum calling for a review of funding to state and local governments “that are permitting, anarchy, violence, and destruction”.
The criteria laid out in the presidential memo for a city to be labelled as an “anarchist jurisdiction” includes fordding police intervention, withdrawing law enforcement from a geographic area, defunding police departments, and refusing to accept offers of law enforcement assistance from the federal government.
Criticism of the memo was focussed on the fact that the criteria also included: “any other related factors the attorney general deems appropriate”.
Monday’s press release also said that the department will continue to identify other jurisdictions to add to the list.
The statement also acts as a final warning. The Trump memorandum gives the Office of Management and Budget 30 days to issue guidance to federal agencies about cutting funding to the cities.
Mr Barr said that he hoped the cities would “reverse course”.
For New York City that would mean losing more than $7bn in grants for 2021, or 7.5 per cent of the city’s total revenue. The city and the state of New York have said they will sue the federal government over the designation.
City Council speaker Corey Johnson said on Monday: “The federal government must serve the people of this country — including New Yorkers. Cutting funding to New York City, one of the nation's most vital economic engines, is dumb as it is cruel. We must fight this misguided attack from the Trump administration.”
At his daily press briefing Mayor Bill de Blasio said that this morning he saw peace and tranquility, “anything but anarchy” calling the announcement “another one of president Trump’s games”.
The federal government must serve the people of this country—including New Yorkers. Cutting funding to New York City, one of the nation's most vital economic engines, is dumb as it is cruel. We must fight this misguided attack from the Trump administration. https://t.co/uHQIkYTYcb
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) September 21, 2020
“It’s insulting to the people of New York City and his effort to withhold our funding is unconstitutional,” the mayor added.
Governor Andrew Cuomo told reporters on a conference call that the president has tried to manipulate and distort government agencies to play politics from day one.
“The president can’t supersede the law and say I’m going to make those funds basically discretionary funds, which is what he would have to do,” the governor said. “If they actually do this, we will challenge it legally, and they will lose once again.”
Earlier in the month Cuomo said: “You can't bully New Yorkers. We just don't get bullied.”