President Trump blasted grandstanding mayors who abruptly backed out of a scheduled meeting in protest over his administration’s latest stand on so-called sanctuary cities.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu were among a handful of mayors accused by the president of putting the needs of criminal illegal immigrants over “law-abiding Americans” by skipping the planned event Wednesday.
President Trump jokes about sanctuary city no-show mayors at a White House meeting, saying that “the mayors who chose to boycott this event have put the needs of illegal immigrants over those of law-abiding citizens.”
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 25, 2018
“My administration is committed to protecting innocent Americans, and the mayors who choose to boycott this event put the needs of criminal illegal immigrants over law-abiding Americans,” Trump told approximately 100 mayors who did show up at the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The Democratic mayors, and one Republican, objected to the Justice Department’s announced crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities, issuing letters demanding compliance to federal laws from 23 cities, including New York City, Chicago, Albany, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Well that escalated real fast. This is not going to end well. https://t.co/XnWccxax0f
— Sarah Palin (@SarahPalinUSA) January 24, 2018
“I’m going to start by saying, as you know the Department of Justice today has announced a critical legal step to hold accountable sanctuary cities that violate federal law and free criminal aliens back into our communities,” the president said as he took the stage Wednesday. “We cannot have that.”
Trump characterized sanctuary cities as “the best friend of gangs and cartels like MS-13” at the meeting which White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said was intended to focus on “the growing economy, as well as working together to tackle the opioid epidemic and rebuild the nation’s aging infrastructure,” CNN reported.
New York’s Democratic mayor, who would have had his first White House meeting with the president, threw a tantrum on Twitter.
I will NOT be attending today’s meeting at the White House after @realDonaldTrump’s Department of Justice decided to renew their racist assault on our immigrant communities. It doesn’t make us safer and it violates America’s core values.
— Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 24, 2018
He also blasted the president for the “slap in the face” he purportedly gave to residents in the sanctuary cities.
“I came down here ready to have a serious meeting and what I got was a publicity stunt from Trump,” de Blasio told reporters, according to the New York Post. “He said, ‘Come over to my house but I’m going to take your wallet while you’re there.’ It was a slap in the face to our cities and our people.”
New Orleans Mayor Landrieu, a vocal critic of Trump’s, declared he would not attend the event under “false pretenses.”
“An attack on one of our cities’ mayors who is following the Constitution is an attack on all of us. I will not be attending that meeting,” the Democratic mayor said.
.@MayorLandrieu on attending meeting at White House this afternoon: “I cannot in good conscience as President of the Unites States Conference of Mayors go to a meeting under false pretenses.” pic.twitter.com/xPHeEnCAnz
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 24, 2018
White House spokeswoman Walters denounced the mayors’ decisions to “make a political stunt instead of participating in an important discussion with the President and his administration,” while the president praised the mayors who did attend.
“But let me tell you the vast majority of people showed up. OK, the vast majority,” Trump said. “Because the vast majority believe in safety of your cities.”
“Protecting criminal aliens from federal immigration authorities defies common sense and undermines the rule of law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement as the DOJ letters went out Wednesday. “We have seen too many examples of the threat to public safety represented by jurisdictions that actively thwart the federal government’s immigration enforcement — enough is enough.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders noted Wednesday that, although the administration looked forward to working with mayors on infrastructure issues, there could be no compromise on obeying the law.
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 24, 2018
“We cannot allow people to pick and choose what laws they want to follow,” she said at the press briefing.
“The White House has been very clear that we don’t support sanctuary cities. We support enforcing the law and following the law. And that is the Department of Justice’s job, is do exactly that,” she said. “If mayors have a problem with that, they should talk to Congress, the people that pass the laws.”
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