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‘Anarchist jurisdictions’ no more: Biden revokes Trump’s order

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Biden reverses order that says cities like Portland and Seattle are ‘anarchist’ havens – an order that had blocked them from federal funds.

President Joe Biden on Wednesday formally revoked a series of presidential orders by his predecessor, including one that sought to cut funding from several United States cities that former President Donald Trump deemed “anarchist” havens.

Since taking office last month, Biden has revoked dozens of orders by Trump and issued dozens more of his own as he has sought to target foundational aspects of Trump’s legacy and promote aspects of his own agenda without going through Congress.

The latest slate of revocations targeted a grab bag of issues, including a few that Trump signed in his last months in office.

Trump issued a memorandum in September that sought to identify municipal governments that permit “anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities” during his re-election campaign, which was based heavily on a “law and order” message.

Federal law enforcement officers close a street downtown as they move towards protesters during a demonstration against police violence and racial inequality in Portland, Oregon on July 29, 2020 [File: Caitlin Ochs/Reuters]

The memorandum followed riots during anti-police and anti-racism protests over George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. The US Department of Justice identified New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon as three cities that could have federal funding slashed.

Those cities in turn filed a lawsuit to invalidate the designation and fight off the Trump administration’s efforts to withhold federal dollars.

These cities, especially Portland, featured consistent protests that sometimes turned violent. The Trump administration was also criticised for sending troops to “kidnap” protesters.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, who had sparred with Trump online, tweeted that her city “no longer has to face the insanity of a President who governs by Twitter or political threats. Instead of attempting to withhold all federal funding from Seattle, [Biden] has proposed support for cities to help our residents and small businesses”.

Biden also revoked other controversial orders, including Trump’s “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture” measure, which claimed that America’s forefathers “wanted public buildings to inspire the American people and encourage civic virtue”.

The memorandum added that architects should look to “America’s beloved landmark buildings” such as the White House, the US Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Department of the Treasury and the Lincoln Memorial for inspiration.

An order Trump issued in the final days of his presidency – dubbed “Ensuring Democratic Accountability in Agency Rulemaking” and calling for limits on the ability of federal agency employees to make regulatory decisions – was also annulled.

Biden rescinded an order that called for agency heads across the government to review welfare programmes — such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing aid — and to strengthen work requirements for certain recipients, and one that blocked many green card applicants from entering the US.



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