President Donald Trump announced Wednesday "a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities" like Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico to fight a rise in violent crime.
"My first duty as president is to protect the American people, and today I am taking action to fulfill that sacred obligation," the president said.
Referencing the national conversation surrounding defunding police departments, President Trump announced "Operation Legend," a plan to send agents from a host of federal agencies to specific "besieged" cities. The agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Marshals Service.
In addition to Chicago and Albuquerque, President Trump said "Operation Legend" has already begun in Kansas City.
The president was flanked by Attorney General Bill Barr and families of those who have lost their lives to violence, among others.
While the president has previously targeted crime and leadership in Oakland, the city was not mentioned as an imminent destination for federal agents during Wednesday's announcement. The Bay Area chapter of the National Lawyers' Guild has called Trump’s actions a "dangerous escalation towards fascism," saying they were preparing a legal response if the president was planning to send troops to Oakland as he threatened Monday.
President Trump has previously defended the ongoing, controversial federal presence in Portland, referring to protestors as "anarchists" who "hate our country."
"We'll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation's children and bring violent perpetrators to justice," the president said. "We've been doing it and you've been seeing what's happening all around the country. We've just started this process and frankly, we have no choice but to get involved."
Asked Monday if he had received any notice from the White House that federal troops might be headed to California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said "we reject it." Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who herself was the target of protesters early Tuesday, also rejected the notion of a federal presence in Oakland.
"Other cities need help. They should call. They should want it," the president said. "They're too proud or too political to do that."
Barr said the administration will "be adding cities in the weeks ahead," but did not specify which ones.