President Trump orders ‘surge’ of federal troops to crime-hit US cities
Chicago will be the first recipient of additional federal enforcement personnel under the “surge”, which is taking place as part of the justice department’s recently launched “Operation Legend.Updated: Jul 23, 2020 22:01 IST
President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a “surge” in the deployment of federal law enforcement officers to cities, mostly ruled by Democrats, struggling with spiraling cases of violent crimes.
Trump has projected himself as a “law and order” president and struggling in polls against his presumptive Democratic rival Joe Biden, he has fallen back on portraying a grim and scary situation of lawlessness that he is committed to addressing.
“This rampage of violence shocks the conscience of our nation, and we will not stand by and watch it happen; can’t do that,” President Trump said at a White House event, accompanied by his top federal law enforcement officials, such as Attorney General William Barr, acting head of homeland security Chad Wolf and FBI director Christopher Wray.
“Today, I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime.
In New York City, over 300 people were shot in the last month alone, he said, which was a 277% -- “at least” -- rise over the same point a year ago. Murders have spiked 27% in Philadelphia and 94% in Minneapolis compared to the same period in 2019.
“Perhaps no citizens have suffered more from the menace of violent crime than the wonderful people of Chicago -- a city I know very well,” Trump said.
Chicago will be the first recipient of additional federal enforcement personnel under the “surge”, which is taking place as part of the justice department’s recently launched “Operation Legend. Other cites targeted include Portland, Oregon, where federal agents are already on ground to protect federal properties from anti-racism protests (but the surge is not about the protests, but rising violent crimes); and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Chicago officials have said they welcomed federal help but cautioned against federal agents operating on their own, and not under the guidance of local officials.
But New York mayor was more forthright. “It is clear that the president’s proposed actions threaten the safety of New Yorkers, the rights of New Yorkers and the fundamental principles of our nation’s constitution,” Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote in a letter to Attorney General Barr.
Two days ago, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler called for federal agents to leave. “They’re not wanted here. We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave,” he told CNN.