Washington, DC—Below is a statement by U.S Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran on the Department of Justice’s announcement regarding New York City, Portland and Seattle:

“America’s mayors are dismayed that the Administration is continuing its misguided and unconstitutional attack on the nation’s cities and is continuing to divide, not unite, the country.  Today in calling out New York City, Portland, and Seattle – three of America’s great cities – and stating that they “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” the Justice Department has taken the next step toward implementation of the President’s September 2 Memorandum threatening to withhold federal funding from certain cities.

“The number one priority for every mayor is public safety. Mayors take oaths to protect their cities.  They will continue to do this, and they will protect free speech at the same time. If the President’s Memorandum is implemented – slashing resources for police, firefighters, and other first responders along with a range of other essential services to residents – our cities will be less safe and our people more divided.

“In a letter to the President shortly after the Memorandum was issued, we urged him to rescind it and indicated that if it were implemented, we would challenge it in court.  That is still the case.  We strongly believe, however, that the better course is to end this effort now and, instead, come together to seek common ground on the goal of public safety – a goal on which we can and should agree.”