Trump blames Chicago leaders for violent weekend: ‘That should not be happening’

President Trump on Thursday blamed Chicago leaders for what he described as an unbelievable surge in gun violence in the city, his first public comments since more than 70 people were shot there over the weekend.

Trump, who has threatened to send in federal officers to manage Chicago’s crime and violence, brought up last weekend’s violence during his opening remarks at a roundtable discussion on prison reform.

“We must strengthen community bonds with law enforcement, including city’s like Chicago that have been an absolute and total disaster,” Trump told the room of governors, attorneys general and White House staff at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

“And we’ll be talking about Chicago today because that is something that in terms of our nation nobody would believe it could be happening,” he added.

The city saw one of its most violent weekends of the year when 12 people were killed and 62 people were wounded in a spate of gun violence between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

{mosads}”That’s bad stuff happening and probably I guess you have to take from the leadership,” Trump said. “There’s no reason in a million years that something like that should be happening in Chicago.”

City officials blamed the latest outburst of violence on gangs and access to weapons.

“There are too many guns on the street, too many people with criminal records on the street,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said at a press conference on Monday. “There is a shortage of values about what is right, and what is wrong. What is acceptable, what is condoned, and what is condemned.”

Chicago has long struggled to curb gun violence in certain reaches of the city. The Chicago Tribune reported that, as of Friday, at least 1,700 people have been shot in the city this year. That number is lower than the past two years through this date, but still much higher than in recent years, according to the Tribune.

Trump, whose family owns a building along the Chicago River, has blamed the city’s leadership for gun violence and threatened to get the federal government involved on numerous occasions.

Emanuel, a former chief of staff for President Obama, has positioned himself as an anti-Trump stalwart. He said last year that the city would brand itself as a place where Trump is not welcome.

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