There will be a "surge" of federal security forces in American cities that have recently seen an increase in violent crime, Donald Trump has said. Tradefair brings you the latest from US politics...
Every American...should be able to walk their city streets free from violence and free from fear."
- Donald Trump
Donald Trump has said there will be a "surge" in federal law enforcement in American cities that have recently witnessed an increase in violent crime.
The president, who is making law and order a central theme of his campaign to win re-election in November, announced that federal agents will be deployed to locations including Chicago and Albuquerque, both of which are in Democratic-run states.
Trump has criticised his political opponents for taking a weak stance on crime, claiming there has been a "radical movement to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police department" in recent weeks.
His administration's decision to send more federal agents to certain cities has drawn criticism from local officials.
'Explosion' of violence
In a speech announcing the increase in federal law enforcement, Trump said every American "should be able to walk their city streets free from violence and free from fear".
He said the people responsible for the recent increases in violent crime in Chicago, Albuquerque and other cities would be arrested and prosecuted.
"They will be in jail for many years to come," the president continued. "We will work with local police to identify violations of state and local laws to help ensure that offenders are caught and jailed for their crimes."
The decision to deploy more federal agents to particular cities is an extension of Operation Legend, which was launched with the aim of combating violent crime in Kansas City, Missouri. The operation was named after LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy who was shot and killed while sleeping in his family home last month.
It will involve agents from the FBI, the Marshals Service, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies being sent to work alongside local authorities and police in the target cities.
Trump said his administration had "no choice but to get involved" after "a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence".
Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, responded to the announcement by saying: "We welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship."
The increase in government agents in cities that have seen a spike in violent crime follows an earlier federal deployment in Portland, Oregon, which has prompted controversy. Local officials argued that the move heightened tensions in the city, which has seen protests since the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25.
Oregon attorney general Ellen Rosenblum said "every American" should be concerned about what is happening in Portland.
"These federal agencies are operating with no transparency and against the will of just about every leader in our state, and I assume it will be the same in other states where they show up," she added.
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler insisted that the federal government and Trump need to be "held accountable".
"He cannot continue to quell free speech. He cannot alter the foundation of American democracy," Wheeler said.
The president tweeted that he was trying to "help Portland, not hurt it", adding that the state's leaders had "lost control of the anarchists and agitators" and were "missing in action".
The increase in federal law enforcement in certain cities is the latest sign that Trump will make a tough stance on crime one of the key messages of his re-election campaign over the coming months.
Recent opinion polls show the Republican president falling further behind his Democratic opponent Joe Biden in the race for the White House, as the US continues to feel the effects of the worsening coronavirus pandemic.
Trump admitted this week that the health crisis "will probably unfortunately get worse before it gets better".
The latest figures show that California has overtaken New York as the state with the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 413,576 people infected and 7,870 deaths.
How the economy copes with the ongoing repercussions of the virus will be another significant theme in the contest between Trump and Biden in the next few months.
Stock markets have remained fairly resilient to the effects of the pandemic this week, with the S&P 500 rising by 1.6% since Monday and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining 1.3%.
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