BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said President Trump is using a "fear tactic" by suggesting federal coronavirus aid could be withheld from cities with so-called "sanctuary" immigration policies like Boston and Cambridge.
"As I said throughout this entire pandemic, it's important for elected officials and leaders to work together for us to get through this very difficult time," said Mayor Walsh. "These suggestions or threats by the White House are uncalled for. They're not going to solve either the public's health or the immigration challenges that we have in our country."
At a White House briefing on Tuesday night, President Trump was asked about the possibility of another round of stimulus payments directly to taxpayers. The President said he "liked payroll tax cuts," and then pivoted to suggest pandemic relief could be tied to a city's immigration policies.
"Now if it's COVID-related I guess we can talk about it," said Trump. "But we'd want certain things also, including sanctuary-city adjustments."
During a press conference on Wednesday, Mayor Walsh said the President should focus on leading the country instead of pushing his "agenda."
"This is not the time for politicized issues to push forward an agenda," said Walsh. "People are hurting, people are dying, people are scared. This is a time for leadership. And that's exactly what we're going to provide here in Massachusetts, in the city of Boston, and that's my suggestion that Washington should start doing; providing some leadership for the people of America."
Mayor Walsh said he is not concerned Boston will have to "pay the price" by seeing its federal coronavirus assistance impacted due to its status as a sanctuary city.
"Right now, the response the Federal Government has shown with getting PPE and testing out, I don't know how much slower they can go on some of this stuff, so I'm not concerned about that," said Walsh. "Quite honestly, it's political. Every time the President gets his back up against the wall, he pulls out the sanctuary city card, and talks about immigration. And I think he should focus on what's in front of us, COVID-19. We have two million Americans now who have tested positive for COVID-19.... We have challenges in front of us. We should focus on COVID-19, and when that is complete, we should be challenged on how do we open up America, not focused on immigration policy. That's a fear tactic."
(Photo: Getty Images)