President Joe Biden continued his efforts to roll back Trump administration orders Thursday morning, rescinding a handful of the former president’s edicts including a memorandum labeling certain cities like Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, “anarchist” havens and slashing their federal funding.
The order, signed during Trump’s final weeks in office, was meant to punish Portland and Seattle, as well as a handful of other cities, for failing to control ongoing, destructive — and, in some cases, deadly — anarchist demonstrations. In Portland, “Antifa” demonstrations raged for more than 100 nights in a row, beginning shortly after Memorial Day, often using more peaceful anti-racism protests as cover.
“Trump issued a memorandum in September that sought to identify municipal governments that permit ‘anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities,'” The Associated Press reported Thursday. “The memorandum followed riots during anti-police and anti-racism protests over George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police. The Justice Department identified New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle as three cities that could have federal funding slashed.”
Several of the cities named in the order filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Trump did not have the authority to pull federal funding simply because he disagreed with their overall policing strategy. The cities accused the former president of “playing cheap political games with Congressionally directed funds,” according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.
Portland is still facing riots. As recently as two weeks ago, rioters tried to break into the Portland Police Association building in a residential area of the city, though the attack was largely ignored by mainstream media outlets. Just days after President Biden’s inauguration, armed federal agents were deployed to protect an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility from a similarly violent attack.
Regardless, Biden rescinded Trump’s order.
Portland officials were pleased with the news that they will no longer lose federal funding for failing to control the riots.
“As many Portlanders expressed remorse on social media that the city was losing its edgy-sounding label, public officials were likely feeling a wave of relief. While many legal scholars doubted the president had the power to pull the funds, the threat loomed large at a time when the pandemic was blowing big holes in local budgets,” Oregon Public Broadcasting reported. Portland officials told the outlet that if the order had remained in place, it could mean less money for COVID-19 vaccine distribution programs.
The “anarchist jurisdictions” was one of several orders slashed from the books Thursday morning.
“Biden also revoked a 2018 order that called for agency heads across the government to review welfare programs — such as food stamps, Medicaid and housing aid — and strengthening work requirements for certain recipients,” the Associated Press reported. He also rescinded Trump’s “Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture” which required new Washington, D.C., buildings to embrace neo-classical architecture, and the “Ensuring Democratic Accountability in Agency Rulemaking” Act, which limited “the ability of federal agency employees in making regulatory decisions.”