WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump continued on Tuesday night to shine a spotlight on crime in Chicago, saying via Twitter if Chicago doesn’t fix “carnage,” then “I will send in the Feds.”
“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” Trump said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel already discussed federal assistance with Trump when he met with the then president-elect at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Dec. 7. Emanuel made a pitch when they talked for federal assistance to boost police hiring and youth mentoring programs that he hoped will stop a 50 percent surge in homicides and shootings.
The Trump White House has been asked by the Chicago Sun-Times for further comment and clarification on what Trump means when he said he will “send in the Feds.” It’s not clear whether Trump means more agents from the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration, the National Guard or something else.
On Wednesday morning, White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters told the Sun-Times, Trump’s tweet “speak for itself.”
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly devoted a segment of his Tuesday show to what he called “Chaos in Chicago,” suggesting that “Trump can call in the National Guard because the governor won’t.”
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson told the Sun-Times on Tuesday night, “the Chicago Police Department is more than willing to work with the federal government to build on our partnerships with DOJ, FBI, DEA and ATF and boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago.”
Emanuel’s City Hall spokesman Adam Collins declined to specifically react to Trump’s latest about Chicago, pointing instead to Emanuel’s call, repeated on Tuesday during an interview with WTTW-Channel 11, that the federal government could help on gun control, stepped up prosecutions, more summer jobs and after-school programs.
Trump used the word “carnage” in his inaugural address on Friday, when he said, “Crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential,” he said. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
Earlier this month, Trump, while still president-elect addressed via Twitter Chicago’s crime surge, saying Emanuel should ask for “federal help.” “Chicago murder rate is record setting — 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!” Trump said in a tweet. However, Emanuel already asked Trump for assistance — when they met in New York last month.
Trump’s Tuesday Twitter statement comes the day after Emanuel, a former chief of staff and top staffer for former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, unloaded on Trump to reporters in Chicago.
“You didn’t get elected to debate the crowd size at your inaugural. . . . 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,” Emanuel said.
“One of the fundamental rights of every American is to live in a safe community. A Trump Administration will empower our law enforcement officers to do their jobs and keep our streets free of crime and violence. The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration. President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.
“The Trump Administration is committed to reducing violent crime. In 2015, homicides increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. There were thousands of shootings in Chicago last year alone.”
When Trump sent out the tweet after meeting with Emanuel earlier this month, he did not offer what type of federal help he has in mind — or what he is prepared to do as president to help the city, where he owns a major downtown hotel. The 762 figure is the Chicago Police Department count.
Collins, asked earlier this month react to Trump’s first tweet about Chicago violence said, “As the president-elect knows from his conversation with the mayor, we agree the federal government has a strong role to play in public safety by funding summer jobs and prevention programming for at-risk youth, by holding the criminals who break our gun laws accountable for their crimes, by passing meaningful gun laws, and by building on the partnerships our police have with federal law enforcement.
“We are heartened he is taking this issue seriously and look forward to working with the new administration on these important efforts,” Collins said.
A Chicago Sun-Times investigation published last October provides an example of specific federal help from Trump that could assist Chicago’s crime-fighting efforts: “For all the promises from federal authorities to do all they can to help Chicago fight gun violence, their prosecutions of gun crimes here have remained stagnant, the Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found.”
During the presidential campaign, Trump said he was told by a top police source it would only take a “week” to cut crime in Chicago if police were tougher. Chicago Police denied anyone of authority discussed Chicago’s crime problem with Trump.