WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he will send federal agents into Chicago and Albuquerque to help combat rising crime, expanding the administration’s intervention in local enforcement as he runs for reelection under a “law-and-order” mantle.
Using the same alarmist language that he has employed in the past to describe illegal immigration, Trump painted Democrat-led cities as out of control and lashed out at the “radical left,” even though criminal justice experts say the increase in violence in some cities defies easy explanation.
“In recent weeks there has been a radical movement to defend, dismantle and dissolve our police department,” Trump said at a White House event, blaming the movement for “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.”
“This bloodshed must end,” he said. “This bloodshed will end.”
The decision to dispatch federal agents to American cities is playing out at a hyperpoliticized moment when Trump is trying to show that he stands with law enforcement and depict Democrats as weak on crime.
With less than four months to go before Election Day, Trump has been serving up dire warnings that the violence would worsen if his Democratic rival Joe Biden is elected in November, as he tries to win over voters who could be swayed by that message.
In trying to explain the spike in violence, experts point to the unprecedented moment the country is living through — a pandemic that has killed more than 140,000 Americans, historic unemployment, stay-at-home orders, a mass reckoning over race and police brutality, intense stress and even the weather. Compared with other years, crime is down overall.
Local authorities have also complained that deploying federal agents to their cities has only exacerbated tensions on the streets.