President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he’d be expanding a federal “surge” of law enforcement into two cities, Chicago and Albuquerque.
But the President couldn’t help but turn the announcement into a political attack.
“Other cities need help,” he said. “They need it badly. They should call. They should want it. They are too proud or they are too political to do that.”
Referring to “sanctuary cities,” whose local law enforcement limits cooperation with ICE, Trump condemned “deadly policies” and “deadly politicians.”
“My vision for America’s cities could not be more different from the lawlessness being pushed by the extreme radical left,” he added. “While others want to defund, defame and abolish the police, I want to support and honor our great police.”
Chad Wolf, the acting Homeland Security secretary, said leadership in the cities “should not stand behind the status quo — they should stand with America.” ICE agents will be among those mobilized in Chicago, he and Trump noted.
The surge announced Wednesday is distinct from the federal agents policing protests in Portland. Whereas that federal force has (mostly) been stationed around federal property, the federal law enforcement sent to Illinois and New Mexico will focus on gun violations and violent crime.
Attorney General Bill Barr announced the launch of “Operation Legend” — named after the four-year-old shooting victim LeGend Taliferro — in Kansas City two weeks ago.
He said Wednesday that the “surge” in federal resources — including FBI agents and others from ATF, the DEA and the U.S. Marshals — had resulted in 200 arrests.
That confused local reporters in Kansas City, who noted that federal authorities announced the first arrest stemming from the surge just two days ago — a man charged with being an unlawful drug user in possession of firearms. Or as U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison called him, “a crime waiting to happen.”
On Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas voiced concern about mission creep and said Trump was “exploiting the pain of our particularly Black community” in an election year, the Kansas City Star reported.
And Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote to Trump on Monday urging him not to bring “secret, federal agents” to Chicago. At the same time, she voiced support for “adequate federal enforcement” of existing gun laws.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller — who like Lightfoot and Lucas is a Democrat — released a statement Tuesday accusing the administration of trying to “incite violence by targeting our city and our residents.”
Barr said Wednesday that federal law enforcement agencies had sent over 200 personnel to Kansas City. He said a “comparable” number would be sent to Chicago. Thirty-five agents additional agents would go to Albuquerque, he said. Trump and Barr also said the cities would receive federal grants to hire more cops locally.