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Trump Is Holding Coronavirus Funds Hostage Until Blue States Abolish Sanctuary Cities

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested that states and local communities impacted by the coronavirus outbreak would only receive federal bailout money from the federal government if their immigration policies align with Trump administration priorities, singling out “sanctuary cities,”  Politico reports.

Trump’s stunning suggestion came during an exchange with reporters on Tuesday, according to Politico.

Alongside Trump’s suggestion that states will have to change sanctuary city policies, the president said a payroll tax cut would need to be part of any negotiation on a state and local bailout.

“I think there’s a big difference with a state that lost money because of covid and a state that’s been run very badly for 25 years,” the president said during his meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. “There’s a big difference, in my opinion. And you know, we’d have to talk about things like payroll tax cuts. We’d have to talk about things like sanctuary cities, as an example. I think sanctuary cities is something that has to be brought up where people who are criminals are protected, they are protected from prosecution,” he added, according to the report.

“I think that has to be done. I think it’s one of the problems that the states have. I don’t even think they know they have a problem, but they have a big problem with the sanctuary situation,” the president declared.

Trump is not the only one making it difficult for states to get federal help amid the pandemic. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) suggested last week that states be allowed to declare bankruptcy, a notion that was widely criticized by Democrats, as well as state and local government officials.

In a bipartisan letter to Congress last week, the National Governors Association emphasized that coronavirus-related financial hardship has struck blue and red states across the country. But the president has used the requests as an opportunity to attack Democrat-led states, insisting on Tuesday that without certain conditions, such bailouts would be unfair to the states “that have done such a good job.”