President Donald Trump spoke to mayors—both Republicans and Democrats—to strengthen cooperative ties between federal and local governments so they can provide better jobs for citizens, excellent schools, affordable health care, and safe communities.
He gave the speech on Jan. 24 at the White House as part of the 88th Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, which was held Jan. 22-24.
President Trump said in his speech that his administration understands that for cities to thrive, citizens must be safe, and that is why they were working with state and local governments on the Safe Neighborhoods project, which aims to adopt the most proven and effective crime-fighting techniques.
The president also said that before his term began, violent crime was on the rise and the United States saw the largest consecutive increase in two years of murders in nearly half a century.
“In just a short time, we’ve reduced the number of murders in America’s major cities by more than 10 percent. And we’re getting tremendous numbers coming out now, much better than even that,” said the president.
Violent crime on the decline
“The nationwide violent crime rate has declined for two straight years. And, working with many leaders in this room, we have boldly tackled the opioid crisis. We’ve really made tremendous progress. In some cases, down 21 percent. Now, 21 percent is not much, when you think of the problem, but we have a lot of things happening,” he added.
President Trump said that drug overdose deaths have declined for the first time in nearly 30 years and that the Department of Homeland Security is also working directly with many city mayors to eliminate dangerous criminals from their communities.
He also referred to the Immigration Department (ICE), which is actively deporting thousands of dangerous MS-13 gang members. He cited the great cooperation from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Mexico.
President Trump however referred to how difficult it was to work with sanctuary cities in the United States, which protect illegal aliens from deportation, including New York and Chicago, represented in the room.
“Sanctuary city policies that order police to ignore these federal detainees and release foreign criminals to the public, that’s really a tremendous risk,” the president said.
The president cited one recent example among many: New York City arrested an immigrant criminal on assault charges. However, “according to city policy, they defied ICE’s request for detention and released the violent criminal. After being released by the city, the same foreign criminal allegedly raped, brutalized, and murdered a 92-year-old woman on the streets of New York. “This horrible crime, and there are so many others, was 100% preventable” he said.
Cooperation with federal law enforcement
“I urge all of you here today to cooperate fully with the federal enforcement. We are all on the same team. Some have sanctuary cities, but even if they have sanctuary cities, we want to be able to work together because there can be huge differences in the number of crimes,” the president said, referring to Democratic cities that adopt policies not to deport criminals.
“My administration stands ready to work with each one of you to make our cities safer and stronger and more vibrant than ever before. As part of this commitment, last year my administration launched an initiative to cut federal, state, and local regulations to reduce the cost of housing. We also hosted a White House summit last month on mental health—a really critical issue confronting many cities and states,” he said.
He also referred to attacks on synagogues, mosques and churches in the community, urging mayors to work together to reject anti-Semitism and anti-religious fanaticism.
Following this request by the president, there was a standing ovation in the room.
“We are committed to building a nation where every community is secure, every family is safe, and every child can grow up in dignity and in peace,” pointed out the president.
In line with the message of the need for greater measures to ensure public safety, President Trump, at the end of his speech, signed H.R. 2476, the Anti-Terrorism Act, which authorizes $375 million in federal grants to help religious and nonprofit organizations defend themselves against violence.