Trump sending federal 'surge' to more U.S. cities

"Today I'm announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime."

President Donald Trump on Wednesday (July 22) said he was sending federal forces to more U.S. cities to crack down on crime...

"... frankly, we had no choice but to get involved."

... doubling down on his "law and order" mantra with his eye on the November 3rd election.

"My vision for America's cities could not be more different from the lawlessness being pushed by the extreme radical left, while others want to de-fund, defame and abolish the police. I want to support and honor our great police."

Trump blamed increases in violence in some cities on left-leaning movements to reform local police departments in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, which Attorney General William Barr said had gone too far.

"... we had that terrible event in Minneapolis. But then we had this extreme reaction that has demonized police and called for the de-funding of police departments. And what we have seen then is a significant increase in violent crime in many cities."

Barr said Wednesday's announcement to expand the program known as "Operation Legend" did not involve sending the paramilitary-type forces deployed to counter protesters in Portland, Oregon, where federal agents in military fatigues without identifying badges have been accused of pulling protesters into unmarked vans in what critics are calling a violation of their civil rights.

Trump said "Operation Legend" would involve sending federal agents to assist local police in cities such as Albuquerque, New Mexico and Chicago - a city that has seen an alarming rise in violent crime this summer.

"It's too soon to say if this is a value add or not."

But the city's Democratic mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was still wary of Trump's plan.

"I'm glad to see that he realized that what he did in Portland was a grave abuse of his power. Now, that doesn't mean he isn't going to try it here in Chicago. And we have to remain diligent... And if we see any steps out of line, particularly with DHS or border patrol, we are not going to hesitate to take the president to court and stop any unconstitutional actions."