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De Blasio: Federal anti-protest forces not welcome in New York City

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks July 21, 2020, during his daily news briefing.

(The Center Square) – New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio sharply criticized President Donald Trump on Tuesday, calling the use of unidentified federal law enforcement officials in Portland, Ore., a “travesty.”

But the mayor also said doubted that Trump would follow through when it comes to deploying agents in the Big Apple.

“This president blusters and bluffs and says he’s going to do things and they never materialize on a regular basis,” de Blasio told reporters during his daily briefing. “So, first, we should not overrate his statements.”

The Trump Administration deployed camouflage-wearing officers from the Department of Homeland Security to the Oregon city to protect federal buildings. The U.S. Attorney in Oregon called on the DHS Inspector General to investigate.

Reports indicate agents are also being deployed to Chicago.

Not only would the agents not be welcomed, the mayor said the city would fight the action in court.

“This would be yet another example of illegal and unconstitutional actions by the President, and we have often had to confront him in court and we usually win,” de Blasio said. “So, hopefully, it doesn’t come to that, but, if needed, we will do that.”

De Blasio said he’s concerned by reports that the agents are arresting protesters without identifying who they are and taking the individuals away in unmarked vehicles.

If allowed, federal agents to police New York would have a “limited impact in terms of anything involving safety,” he added. “It will just create a lot of pain and confusion. Maybe that’s what he wants.”

The mayor was also asked about protesters who have become entrenched at City Hall and concerns about graffiti found on public buildings, including one named after the city’s only Black mayor.

The vandalism on the David Dinkins Building has been up for about a month. That has yet to be cleaned while a desecrated Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower was fixed very quickly.

The mayor, who noted he wasn’t an expert, said there were issues with the building’s surface causing the delay.

“Graffiti on any public buildings, we won’t allow it, we will remove it,” the mayor said. “Again, there is a balance we always strike between the right to protest and especially public safety. And I always put public safety first while respecting constitutional rights. That decision will be made by the NYPD as things emerge.”

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