Trump in 'law and order' campaign to send federal agents to more U.S. cities
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump announced a plan on Wednesday to send federal agents to the Democratic-run cities of Chicago and Albuquerque to crack down on violent crime in an escalation of his “law and order” theme heading into the final months before the presidential election.
Trump, joined at a White House event by Attorney General William Barr, unveiled an expansion of the “Operation Legend” program to more cities in a further effort by federal officials to tackle violence.
“Today I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime,” said Trump, a Republican who has accused Democratic mayors and governors of tolerating crime waves. “This bloodshed must end; this bloodshed will end,” he said.
The program involves deploying federal law enforcement agents to assist local police in combating what the Justice Department has described as a “surge” of violent crime.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, both Democrats, welcomed the federal help, so long as it was to assist local law enforcement with community policing and public safety. Both rejected the use of federal agents for the kind of protest crackdown seen in Portland, Oregon, saying such actions would be met with legal action.
“If the Trump administration wishes to antagonize New Mexicans and Americans with authoritarian, unnecessary and unaccountable military-style ‘crackdowns,’ they have no business whatsoever in New Mexico,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.
Barr sought to differentiate the initiative from the use of federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to quell unrest in Portland, where local authorities have complained about the federal involvement.