SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — President Donald Trump Thursday voiced his displeasure with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and her preemptive warning about a massive immigration sweep by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
At a Thursday morning press availability surrounded by his cabinet members, Mr. Trump added his voice to the criticism of Schaaf already raised by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, acting ICE Director Thomas Homan and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a speech in Sacramento Wednesday.
Trump called Schaaf’s actions a disgrace.
“What the Mayor of Oakland did the other day is a disgrace,” the president said. “They had probably a 1,000 people gotten. Ready to be taken off the street. 85 percent of them were criminals. She went out and warned them all. Scatter. So instead of taking in 1,000, they took in a fraction of that.”
“They (the ICE agents) were all set,” Trump continued. “This (the raids) were long in the planning. And she said ‘Get out of here.’ She’s telling that to criminals and it’s certainly something we are looking into with respect to her individually. What she did is incredible and very dangerous from the standpoint of ICE and the Border Patrol.”
“Very dangerous. She really made law enforcement much more dangerous.”
Trump again issued the threat to cut off funding to cities like Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and others who embrace sanctuary city immigration policies.
“I really think we should have legislation where we put an extra line in the money that we give them – ‘You want the money, you can’t have the sanctuary cities.’ That way we avoid the court battles all the time,” Trump said. “They want the money, they should give up on the sanctuary cities. It harbors horrible criminals.”
The mayor gave a biting response on Thursday.
“I am proud to live in a country where everyone can criticize elected officials,” said Schaaf.
While she has been the target of national criticism, Schaff says the people she represents are supportive of her actions.
“I have obviously gotten much criticism, but much of it from outside of this community,” explained Schaaf. “As a leader, someone that I believe is representing the feelings of the vast majority of the people I represent, I believe it’s my duty to speak up and talk about the values that my community hold dear.”
Schaaf again addressed the possibility that federal authorities could try to prosecute her for issuing the warning. She maintained she is prepared for that eventuality.
“I take very seriously the claims that I could be investigated,” said Schaaf. “I feel confident that everything I’ve done has been legal.”
When asked if she would warn the Oakland community of an impending ICE raid if provided with similar information today, Schaff replied, “I will continue to act with the values that have guided me to date in this office.”
On Thursday, Schaaf also had one final message for the President.
“Happy International Women’s Day, President Trump,” Schaaf said with a smile.
Sessions also didn’t mince words in his speech on Wednesday.
“So here’s my message to Mayor Schaaf,” the attorney general said. “How dare you needlessly endanger the lives of our law enforcement officials to promote a radical open borders agenda.”
Homan said 864 ‘criminal aliens’ had eluded capture during the sweep.
“We were able to remove many public safety threats from the streets of the Bay Area during the past few days,” he said of the raids. “However, 864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large in the community, and I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor’s irresponsible decision.”
Schaaf defended her actions on Wednesday.
“How dare you vilify members of our community by trying to frighten the American public into thinking that all undocumented residents are dangerous criminals.” she said. “Hard-working, law-abiding Oaklanders like Eusebio Sanchez and Maria Mendoza-Sanchez, who you ripped away from their American-born children and the cancer patients at our public hospital who relied on Maria’s nursing skills every day.”
“How dare you distract the American people from a failed immigration system that tears apart decent families and forces the workers that our economy depends on to harvest our crops, deliver our services, and build our cities to live in fear and work under oppressed conditions.
“How dare you distort the reality about declining violent crime rates in a diverse, sanctuary city like Oakland to advance a racist agenda.”
Schaaf said her administration’s role is to make “neighborhoods safe and ensuring that the children of my community – no matter where they came from or how they got here – have every opportunity for success.”
“No one elected me to be fearful,” Schaaf said.”They elected me to stand up for the people of my community…They elected me to have courage during difficult times — and these are difficult times.”