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Mayors of major cities push back against Trump’s call for federal agents

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  • Mayors in major cities are pushing back on the federal government’s efforts to send in federal troops. 
  • Federal troops were deployed in Portland, and reports last week said that agents in unmarked cars were seizing protesters. 
  • President Donald Trump has defended their actions and called the unrest “worse than Afghanistan,” The Washington Post.
  • Mayors in Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Philadelphia said they don’t welcome the move to have agents in their cities. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mayors in major cities like Chicago and Detroit are pushing back against efforts by President Donald Trump administration to deploy federal agents, like those in Portland, to more cities. 

Trump threatened to send forces to cities experiencing unrest, The Washington Post reported. Two sources told Politico that the Department of Homeland Security officials is considering sending field forces to different cities across the county to protect federal property. 

“We’re looking at Chicago, too. We’re looking at New York,” Trump said. “All run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by the radical left.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced on Tuesday that federal agents would be sent to the city to help address violence but won’t be engaging with protesters, WLS reported. 

“Unlike what happened in Portland, what we will receive is resources that are going to plug in to the existing federal agencies that we work with on a regular basis to help manage and suppress violent crime in our city,” Lightfoot said.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot was still wary of the way these federal agents would behave. In a tweet, she said she wouldn’t allow Trump’s troops to “terrorize” residents. 

“I don’t put anything past this administration, which is why we will continue to be diligent and why we will continue to be ready,” Lightfoot said. “If we need to stop them and use the courts to do so, we are ready to do that.”

 

Despite mostly peaceful protests, Trump also said he’s looking to send troops to Detroit, the Detroit Free Press reported. In an emailed joint statement, Mayor Mike Duggan and Police Chief James Craig said they haven’t had any communication with the federal government about this plan.  

“There could be no possible justification for such an action. The Detroit Police Department has had the support of the Detroit community in making sure our city did not have a single store looted or a single fire started during the protests,” the statement said. “Unlike nearly every other major city in the country, the Detroit Police Department never requested assistance from the National Guard — we handled our issues as a community. We definitely have no need for any federal presence being sent in now.” 

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he wouldn’t allow Trump to send in any troops. In a tweet, de Blasio wrote: “We’ve seen the chaos secret police are creating in Portland. We won’t let it happen here.”

He told NY1 that the move to use federal agents was another way to help Trump win re-election. 

“It’s the same way he uses ICE as an extension of his reelection campaign,” de Blasio told the local outlet. “We have no illusions here. We do not welcome it. It will not work. Every time we’ve seen Trump do things that are illegal and unconstitutional, we challenge him in court and overwhelmingly beat him and he has to retreat. I think it’s the same scenario here.”

In Philadelphia, another city the president threatened to send agents Mayor Jim Kenney said if the president was interested in helping cities, he would have taken tougher action on the coronavirus pandemic, WPVI reported. 

“We’re opposed to that action and if the Trump administration wanted to help cities they would’ve gotten off their rear ends back in March and April helped us with PPE and testing and contact tracing,” Kenney said. 

Last week Oregon Public Broadcasting reported that federal officers began seizing people in unmarked cars in an effort to enforce Trump’s executive order on the protection of federal property.

According to the Post, Trump has defended the use of and the behavior of agents in Portland. He called the unrest in the city “worse than Afghanistan,” and said the other cities were messes that needed to be brought under control. 

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