WASHINGTON — On the day President Donald Trump once again talked about violence in Chicago, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway told me on Tuesday that Trump will want to speak again to Mayor Rahm Emanuel “before anything is formally revealed” about how the president plans to help.
I asked Conway about Trump’s focus on Chicago after Trump — for the sixth time just since his Jan. 20 inauguration — brought up the city’s crime fighting struggles, this time while hosting a meeting of county sheriffs on Tuesday morning.
Trump told the sheriffs, “if you ran Chicago, you would solve that nightmare, I tell you. … Because to allow — I mean, literally — hundreds of shootings a month, it’s worse than some of the places that we read about in the Middle East, where you have wars going on. It’s so sad. Chicago has become so sad a situation.”
Trump also has said — via a Twitter post on Jan. 24 that if “carnage” continues in Chicago, he will “send in the Feds.”
So I also asked Conway when Chicago would be seeing something from Trump.
“All I can say is, he’s been in touch with Mayor Emanuel and that’s great. It’s nice bi-partisan action to try to solve what clearly, I think, anybody would admit is a vexing problem. So I’m sure they will have another private discussion before anything is formally revealed,” she said.
Conway did not say what might be revealed.
Trump has been fixated on crime in Chicago.
- In his July 21, 2016 speech at the Republican National Convention, Trump talked about the shooting victims “in the President’s hometown of Chicago.”
- While President-elect, in a Jan. 2 post on Twitter, Trump said Chicago should ask for “federal help,” even though Emanuel did in a meeting he had with Trump in New York on Dec. 7.
- On Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, Trump’s WhiteHouse.gov web site mentioned Chicago shootings.
- Trump issued his “send in the feds” challenge on Jan. 24.
- On Jan. 25, in an ABC News interview, Trump said two people were shot and killed on Jan. 10, when now former President Barack Obama was in Chicago delivering his farewell speech at McCormick Place. There were no homicides in Chicago that day.
- At a Republican retreat in Philadelphia on Jan. 26, Trump, talking about murders in cities said, “And then you look at Chicago, what’s going on in Chicago? I said the other day, ‘What the hell is going on?’”
- On Feb. 1, during a meeting at the White House to mark Black History Month, Trump said if Chicago officials don’t take steps to stop violence, “we’re going to solve the problem for them,” and suggesting that direct intervention with street-gang leaders might be a good idea.
- On Tuesday, Trump compared Chicago to violence in unnamed Middle East nations.
It’s been easy for Trump to throw punches at Chicago, even though other cities grapple with crime.
Trump said during the presidential campaign that he was told by a top police source it would only take a “week” to cut crime in Chicago if police were tougher. Police officials denied anyone told Trump that.
If it were only that easy.
Since Jan. 24, Emanuel, a former chief of staff to Obama, has talked with Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus. And I’m told that Emanuel tried to get in touch with Priebus again, last week, after Trump again brought up Chicago crime at the Black History Month event.
Indeed, Chicago’s City Hall is eager to get to work with the Trump White House.
“Instead of focusing so much energy on rhetoric about Chicago, the people of this city would be better off if the president would finally partner with us to improve public safety for Chicago,” Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath told me.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said in a statement, “Our men and women are working hard to improve public safety, and we stand ready for an increased federal partnership to build upon our work. As I’ve said before, we are asking for more federal agents and resources. We are asking for a higher rate of federal gun prosecution. We are asking for more funding for after-school and summer jobs programs that are proven to keep kids out of trouble.”
Tuesday marked two months since Emanuel met with Trump at Trump Tower to make his ask.
Trump has proposed nothing.
No one is in disagreement here. Trump wants to help, and Emanuel wants to work with the president on reducing crime in Chicago. It’s a very rare convergence in these divisive times.Tweets by @lynnsweet