Trump Sends 'Surge' of Hundreds of Law Enforcement Agents to Combat Crime in Chicago and Albuquerque

President Donald Trump announced a surge of federal law enforcement to address crime in U.S. cities, saying that Chicago, Illinois, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and other cities will be added to the Justice Department program dubbed "Operation Legend."

"Today I'm announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime." Trump said in a press conference on Wednesday. "We'll work every single day to restore public safety."

"This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end," Trump said.

The president has repeatedly criticized local leaders in multiple major cities across the country because there has been a notable increase in violence and shootings. Trump has attributed this uptick in crime to poor management from "liberal Democrats." The president had suggested in recent days that he would expand federal efforts to address crime in hard-hit U.S. cities.

"We're not going to let New York and Chicago and Philadelphia and Detroit and Baltimore and all of these—Oakland is a mess. We're not going to let this happen in our country. All run by liberal Democrats," Trump told reporters on Monday.

Federal law enforcement actions in Portland have come under intense scrutiny after videos shared online and media reports showed that federal agents in military gear had detained demonstrators in unmarked vehicles without identifying themselves. The Department of Homeland Security has said that these reports have misrepresented what occurred, but even some prominent Republicans have expressed outrage.

"We cannot give up liberty for security," GOP Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky tweeted Monday. "Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities, but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will."

A White House source told Newsweek that Trump is "not concerned" about the criticism. The president "is concerned with saving American lives and ending the heinous surge of violence occurring in America's cities," the source said.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, has already vowed that she will not allow Trump to bring federal forces to her city. "Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump's troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents," she tweeted Tuesday.

Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.

— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 21, 2020

On Monday, the Chicago mayor raised concerns that the federal forces would carry out actions similar to what has been observed in Portland.

"I have great concerns about that, particularly given the track record in the city of Portland. I spent a lot of time yesterday talking with the mayor of Portland to get a sense of what has happened there," she said. "We don't need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully. That's not what we need."

Chicago has seen a significant increase in shootings this year, with more than 400 homicides recorded thus far in 2020. At the current pace, the city appears to be on track to see its highest number of homicides in some two decades.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller, a Democrat, issued a statement about Trump's warnings on Tuesday.

"There's no place for Trump's secret police in our city. If this was more than a stunt, these politicians would support constitutional crime-fighting efforts that work for our community, not turning Albuquerque into a federal police state," Keller said.

"I truly hope this is not just a cheap political stunt that will only make our city less safe," he said.

There is no place for Trump's secret police in our city.

— Mayor Tim Keller (@MayorKeller) July 21, 2020

"Operation Legend" was first announced by Attorney General William Barr earlier this month to address a spike in crime and homicides in Kansas City, Missouri. The effort began after the state's Republican Governor Mike Parson asked for federal assistance. Barr then sent FBI, DEA and U.S. Marshal Service agents to assist the city.

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that the authorities going into U.S. cities as part of "Operation Legend" will be different than the type of officials policing protests in Portland. He said they will be investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Trump signaled that he will soon be sending federal law enforcement to other cities too. He said some are "too proud" or "too political" to ask for the help they should want.

The president also announced that the Department of Justice would provide more than $61 million in grants to hire hundreds of new police officers in the cities being targeted by "Operation Legend."

"We will never defund the police. We will hire more great police. We want to make law enforcement stronger, not weaker. What cities are doing is absolute insanity," he said.

Trump Fed Troops
Donald Trump speaks during an event on combating violent crime in American cities in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Sarah Silbiger/UPI/Bloomberg/Getty