President Trump said during a White House press briefing Tuesday he wants states to give him “sanctuary-city adjustments” in exchange for federal financial relief.
“We’re not looking to recover 25 years of bad management and to give them the money that they lost,” Trump said, in response to a reporter’s question about further coronavirus relief packages. “That’s unfair to other states.
“If we were gonna do something for the states,” Trump added. “I think they’d probably want a, uh, something having to do with sanctuary cities, something having to do with other different points that we can discuss a little bit later on.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has already pushed back on Trump’s demand saying in a tweet, “We cannot allow the Trump administration to exploit a public health crisis to further their anti-immigrant agenda.”
Trump has tried to keep any coronavirus-related money away from immigrants while at the same time using the pandemic to his political advantage.
Trump has blocked stimulus funds to Americans married to undocumented immigrants and temporarily suspended huge swaths of legal immigration into the country. Trump has also touted the coronavirus-prompted changes as part of a larger anti-immigration push.
The stimulus check ban is already being challenged in court.
During the press briefing, Trump also said the country is close to conducting 5 million coronavirus tests per day. However, in reality, the U.S. is about conducting about 200,000 tests per day.
Aides and allies of the president have reportedly been trying to get him to stop his press briefings, saying they’re hurting his chances at reelection. Some believe he is also hurting the chances of Republicans holding on to a majority in the Senate.