Donald Trump has again threatened to send federal agents to New York City if local authorities do not stop a surge of violence that has left seven people dead and more than 50 shot since Friday.
The president, who is running for re-election on a law and order agenda as a counterweight to the police and criminal justice reform movement, reacted to the news of the mayhem in his home town on Twitter.
“Law and Order,” he wrote, directing his message at the city’s Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio. “If (he) can’t do it, we will!”
It was the latest in a string of bloody weekends that have hit the city in the wake of coronavirus-related shutdowns, rallies against police brutality and a month-long protest encampment in front of City Hall.
According to police, 51 people were shot from Friday through to Sunday, six of whom died. Another man died after a physical altercation, police said.
Eight people were shot and five people were killed over the same span last year.
Mr de Blasio dismissed Mr Trump’s tweet as “bluster”, telling reporters that a recent rise in gun arrests was a hopeful sign that New York police “will turn this tide”.
His press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, noted that Mr Trump sent his tweet hours after retweeting a pundit who said Democratic cities should be left to rot.
The president has used violent spikes in Democratic-led cities such as New York, Chicago and Philadelphia to justify claims that recent reforms and cuts to police budgets have hampered officers and allowed criminals to run amok.
His re-election campaign has been airing television commercials suggesting no one will be there to answer 911 calls if his Democratic rival, former vice president Joe Biden, is elected president.
“The only thing rotten is Trump’s mind,” Mr Neidhardt tweeted in response.
The president, a Republican who grew up in Queens and built his namesake tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, backed off a threat last month to send federal agents to New York City to deal with protesters and increased violence, as he had in Portland, Oregon.
Mr de Blasio had said the city would take legal action to stop such a move and state governor Andrew Cuomo said Mr Trump told him by telephone that he would not send any extra federal law enforcement personnel without discussing it with the governor first.