Trump slams Illinois governor, mayor over violence in Chicago, calls for ‘law and order’
President Trump tore into Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) after a string of violent incidents struck Chicago, accusing the two lawmakers of failing the city.
Trump cited an article from the Chicago Sun-Times released earlier this month detailing the deaths of 18 people in a 24-hour span, saying the violence was an indication that Pritzker and Lightfoot were not doing their jobs.
“Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect,” he wrote in a letter, a copy of which was released by the White House. “I am concerned that it is another example of your lack of commitment to the vulnerable citizens who are victims of this violence and a lack of respect for the men and women of law enforcement.”
“Violence and death, which are disproportionately harming young African Americans, are tragic and unacceptable, especially on such a shocking scale,” he added.
Trump also said that he was open to working with Pritzker and Lightfoot to help underprivileged communities in Chicago, but said establishing “law and order” was a prerequisite.
“If you are interested, I am willing to ask members of my Cabinet to meet with you and help devise a plan to make Chicago safe, since a successful formula has escaped both you and your predecessors,” he wrote. “My administration would also welcome the opportunity to engage with you and your colleagues as you develop bipartisan policy recommendations to improve policing and make our great cities safer for all.”
“Unfortunately, you continue to put your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety, and fortunes of your own citizens,” he continued. “The people of Chicago deserve better.”
Trump throughout his tenure has cited violence in Chicago as an example of what he says is failed leadership by Democrats and repeatedly knocked Pritzker for failing to rein in the violence.
Pritzker and Trump also clashed on a call earlier this month after the governor accused Trump over what he described as “inflammatory” rhetoric from the president following the death of George Floyd.
Trump has repeatedly sought to lean into his message of law and order as he finds himself playing defense over his handling of the coronavirus and his rhetoric regarding protesters advocating for racial justice, which has caused his support to slip, according to recent polls.
Pritzker’s office fired back at the White House after the letter was released, accusing Trump of trying to distract from his bungled responses.
“President Trump is a failure who has once again resorted to a press stunt in an attempt to distract from his long list of failures, especially his response to the deadly coronavirus and nationwide calls for racial justice,” said Pritzker spokesperson Jordan Abudayyeh. “The people of this state and this nation have unfortunately come to expect his unhinged attempts to politicize tragedy with his predictable and worn-out strategy to distract, distract, distract. The Governor stands with the Mayor in working to accomplish meaningful change.”
Lightfoot’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.