Trump Threatens to “Send the Feds” to Chicago to Deal with “Horrible Carnage”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel unwittingly prompted a public battle with President Donald Trump on Monday, when he criticized Trump for focusing on the crowd size at his inauguration. On Tuesday evening, coinciding with an “O’Reilly Factor” segment on violence in Chicago, Trump tweeted a veiled threat aimed at Emanuel.
“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24 percent from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” Trump tweeted, citing figures that aired on Bill O’Reilly’s show. Official statistics from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) put the numbers a bit lower, at 234 people shot, and 38 killed. In 2016, a department spokesman said, 227 were shot, with 33 deaths. The spokesman said the department’s figures do not factor in “justified” shootings (those in self-defense) or officer-involved shootings.
Emanuel’s verbal spat with Trump stemmed from a bit of criticism he lodged at the president on Monday: “You didn’t get elected to debate the crowd size at your inaugural,” the mayor said, referring to Trump’s insistence that his inauguration ceremony was the most-watched ever. “You got elected to make sure that people have a job, that the economy continues to grow, people have security as it relates to their kids’ education. It wasn’t about your crowd size. It was about their lives and their jobs.”
On Wednesday, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said his department was “more than willing” to work with the federal government to combat Chicago’s persistent violence. Chicago had a bloody 2016. The death toll was the highest in nearly two decades, at 762 people killed, largely the result of gang violence.
Days before U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch left office, her department released its findings that the CPD “engages in a pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.” The Justice Department also found a pattern of racial discrimination practiced by Chicago officers.
On Wednesday, a Chicago Democrat, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, came to Emanuel’s defense. “The president wants publicity and to be seen beating up on Democratic elected officials and appearing hostile to a big city like Chicago in the eyes of his suburban and rural voters,” he said.