Mayor Bill de Blasio said today he would not remove the city’s costly police perimeter from around Trump Tower in retaliation for yesterday’s executive order targeting so-called “sanctuary cities” like New York—an order that could sever the funding for those exact same NYPD resources currently shielding President Donald Trump‘s flagship property.
Speaking on popular hip-hop station Hot 97, de Blasio rejected host Ebro Darden’s suggestion that he call off the heavily armed and armored battalion of officers that has stood guard outside the president’s Fifth Avenue corporate headquarters since Election Day. The mayor and Queens Congressman Joseph Crowley warned last night that the White House fiat could endanger some $150 million the police department receives annually from Washington, $110 million of it counter-terrorism funding—money that goes to protect both foreign dignitaries and Trump Tower.
“We’re never going to do that, Ebro,” de Blasio said in answer to Darden’s idea, eliciting an audible “damn!” from Darden. “We’re going to do our job, we’re going to be bigger than that. We’re going to do our job.”
Nonetheless, the mayor reiterated his vow from last evening that the administration would sue the federal government if its funding spigot shut off. For years, New York taxpayers have sent more dollars to Washington than the city has received in allocations.
The mayor also expressed optimism that House Republicans would recognize the need to shield Trump Tower—where the president’s wife and youngest son plan to remain at least until June—and would come to New York City’s aid.
“I think the Congress understands that the protection of Trump Tower is now a national priority. Forget the person of Donald Trump, not only do he and his family do deserve protection, all the people who work there, all the people who go into that atrium. But also the building is now a national symbol,” he said. “I also may think that most members of Congress think it is fair to reimburse the NYPD, because that should be a national responsibility.”
Yet in December, the House decided only to indemnify the city for $7 million of the $35 million it had requested for its protective efforts at the building between Election Day and the inauguration. Trump himself pledged to assist in loosening up the funds in Washington during a private conversation with de Blasio, the mayor’s office revealed earlier this month.
Crowley in particular warned yesterday that the executive order might jeopardize money from the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which Congress allocates every year to municipalities based on a determination of the danger terrorism poses to each. The congressman, the fourth-ranked Democrat in the House, noted that the potential threat to Trump Tower had increased exponentially this year and the city would likely have received an amplified UASI outlay.
The language of Trump’s dictate leaves the disbursement of monies for “law enforcement purposes” at the discretion of Gen. John Kelly, the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the incoming U.S. Attorney General. Trump has nominated Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, one of the nation’s fiercest critics of immigration, for that job.
NYPD funding isn’t the only allocation at risk. City Comptroller Scott Stringer identified a total of $7 billion in federal monies potentially at risk.