In Washington, DC, 90 percent of voters did not vote for Donald Trump.
So when DC Mayor Muriel Bowser met with President-elect Trump yesterday, there was a certain awareness in the room that the city’s values may not match those of the future resident of the White House.
“We know what the election result were in Washington, DC, and he knows what they were too,” Bowser said at a special event at Vox Media’s DC offices. “He also knows that we have seen some really troubling incidents in our city relating to hate, fake news, you name it. We all have an opportunity — he especially — to put that to an end.”
She seemed to be making a direct reference to an incident of a gunman appearing at a local pizzeria, related to a right-wing conspiracy theory known as “Pizzagate.”
Bowser said she used the private meeting with Trump — the specifics of which she did not share — to put “the anxieties and fears of Washingtonians” on the table and allow for a time to heal.
“We have some huge things to be concerned about if some of the Trump policies are put forth and enacted,” Bowser said.
There’s the potential for a lot of obstacles ahead, and policy areas the District will need to work with the federal government. For example, DC’s Metro system will undoubtedly need some federal aid.
But Trump has already expressed plans to crack down on “sanctuary cities,” of which DC is one, vowing to cut off funding if they do not comply with federal immigration laws.
Bowser gave the impression that she is willing to resist, noting her dedication to “ensuring and protecting our values as a sanctuary city specifically as it relates to to our police department defending our laws, not federal government laws.”
Though DC is a federal district, it has operated under home rule since 1973. It was then that Congress allowed the city to pass its own laws, without congressional approval. Still, Congress has a history of meddling with DC’s laws from time to time, including on controversial measures like marijuana legalization and abortion. Now the fear is that DC’s attitudes on immigration could come into conflict with Trump’s — a problem many blue cities and states are wondering about.
Bowser is not the only mayor in the country with this attitude, but it’s not without risk.
As Mother Jones reported, 25 percent of the District’s budget would be at stake if Trump follows through — “more of its budget than any other jurisdiction” on the sanctuary city list.