Editorial: A Trump troop ‘surge’ into cities that is all about politics and nothing about safety

President Donald Trump is dispatching the feds to more American cities, where he claims feckless Democrats in thrall to “the extreme radical left” are letting neighborhoods spiral out of control.

“For decades,” he says, those running America’s big cities have put the rights of criminals before the rights of ordinary citizens.

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Of course, over those same decades, those same mayors, almost all Democrats, have driven violent crime to historic lows. Here in New York, homicides dropped from 649 in Republican Rudy Giuliani’s last year to fewer than half that last year, with a growing population. In Chicago, murders dropped 13% from 2018 to 2019, and 35% from 2016 to 2019, before returning with a vengeance recently.

Trump doesn’t care. He doesn’t want partners. To win, he needs punching bags.

There is too much real, heartbreaking violence taking real American lives in cities. Police are on their heels in too many places. All Americans, wherever they live, deserve government protection. If federal authorities take guidance from and work in genuine collaboration with local leaders, their presence would be welcome, as it is when the NYPD and FBI combat terrorism together or when the NYPD and ATF tackle illegal guns.

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But Trump’s surge to Chicago, Kansas City, Albuquerque and who knows where else next is transparently politically motivated, as he cynically conflates peaceful protesters and criminals, mainstream Democrats and Molotov-cocktail-throwing anarchists. In Portland, the debut of his strategy, if you can call it that, the feds inflamed instead of calmed, producing an unaccountable, lawless mess.

It ought not be lost on citizens that a president who has refused to exercise leadership in fighting a virus that has taken 140,000 Americans and counting now foists federal agents upon cities that never asked for them.