GOP threatens to defund Democratic-controlled cities over protests


Multiple Republican bills aim to cut funding to cities and states over racial justice protests.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and North Carolina Republican Rep. Dan Bishop are urging the Trump administration to defund cities and states that have so-called "anarchist jurisdictions," Ernst announced in a tweet on Wednesday.

In a letter to Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought, Ernst said federal funding should not be used to "facilitate" "autonomous zones" like the one that cropped up in Seattle, and touted a bill she introduced late last month called the "Ending Taxpayer Funding of Anarchy Act."

"Law abiding citizens should not have to pay for their abdication of responsibility," Ernst wrote, referring to local officials in Seattle. "We ask that you scrutinize any future federal funding that flows to such lawless jurisdictions."

It's the latest attempt by congressional Republicans to help bolster Donald Trump's effort to paint Democratic-controlled cities as violent and overrun by protesters demanding racial justice.

"The Radical Left Democrats, who totally control Biden, will destroy our Country as we know it," Trump tweeted on Sunday. "Unimaginably bad things would happen to America. Look at Portland, where the pols are just fine with 50 days of anarchy. We sent in help. Look at New York, Chicago, Philadelphia. NO!"

Right-wing media has been pushing that same message for weeks, overblowing the story of the autonomous zone in Seattle that local officials helped deescalate. In fact, Fox News even altered photos to make the zone look violent when it was largely peaceful.

Right-wing media also tagged along with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf as he descended upon Portland, Oregon. During that visit, Wolf touted the actions of unidentified federal agents who abducted peaceful protesters off the street to stop some incidents of graffiti in the city.

In a Fox News appearance on Tuesday, Wolf called those arrests "proactive" — something that appears unethical or illegal given that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution says law enforcement officers must have probable cause to arrest someone and can't assume someone will do something illegal.

It's not the first time Republicans have threatened to defund Democratic-run entities.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy introduced a bill earlier this month that would strip federal funding from cities and states that do not protect statues and monuments. McCarthy's bill came after Trump voiced support for keeping monuments to traitorous Confederate soldiers and other historical figures like Christopher Columbus — even issuing an executive order to "protect" those monuments.

Trump has also threatened to defund so-called "sanctuary cities," in which local law enforcement officers refuse to do the job of federal agents conducting immigration enforcement.

Ultimately, however, Trump's law-and-order message doesn't appear to be working.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll from Sunday found voters trust presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden to handle issues of "crime and safety" more than Trump by a 9-point margin.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.