President Donald Trump took another shot at Chicago’s crime problem on Friday, repeating a story — with no further elaboration — about an unnamed police official who Trump says could solve Chicago’s violence in a couple of days.
It’s a story Trump has told since he was running for president — and one City Hall has questioned.
On Friday, Trump said it was while he was campaigning here last year and was being escorted by a “brigade” of motorcycle cops who volunteered to protect him while campaigning.
And one police official, “a rough cookie,” told Trump he could solve Chicago’s crime in “a couple of days” if only he was given the authority.
“I said, ‘What the hell is going on?’” Trump said Friday. “I said, ‘How long would it take you to straighten out this problem?’”
“He said, ‘If you gave me the authority, a couple of days. I really mean it.’”
Trump went on to say that he took the man’s business card and referred him to City Hall.
City officials have previously disputed the president’s claim that a member of the police department met with him.
It was the second time this week that Trump touched on Chicago’s gun violence.
Speaking Tuesday at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, Trump said: “This month in Chicago, there have been more than two homicide victims per day. What the hell is going on in Chicago?”
“Better tell that mayor to get tough because it’s not working what they’re doing,” Trump said.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s chief spokesman Adam Collins said: “We can only hope the president is as interested in attacking crime as he is in attacking his Attorney General, transgender members of the military and the three largest cities in the country.”
The police official who could solve they city’s violence epidemic in days first surfaced during the presidential campaign.
Last August, Trump told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that violence in Chicago would stop “in a week” with “tough police tactics” if police were given “the authority to do it.”
Trump said his source was an unnamed “top” Chicago police officer. But the CPD denied that Trump met with any higher-ups in the department.
Trump also voiced his support for stop-and-frisk policies to reduce crime, making the suggestion again on Fox News. He later clarified he only meant Chicago.
Chicago recorded its 400th homicide of the year early Friday, keeping pace with a historically violent 2016, when 780 people were killed in the city, the most in one year since the mid-1990s.
Trump’s latest comments on Chicago came during a speech in which he addressed a crackdown on the MS-13 street gang’s presence in Long Island.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions — a critic of so-called “sanctuary cities” such as Chicago — is currently in El Salvador as part of an effort to “increase international cooperation against the gang,” according to the Associated Press.
Earlier this week, the Justice Department announced it will no longer award coveted grant money to cities unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice when someone in the country illegally is about to be released.
The president’s most infamous dig at Chicago came on Jan. 24, just four days after he was inaugurated.
After Fox News aired a segment on shootings in the city, Trump tweeted that he’d “send in the Feds!” to Chicago, citing the city’s miserable statistics on shootings.
Last month, about 20 additional agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were sent to Chicago to combat gun violence here.
After seven people were killed in Chicago in one day in February, Trump tweeted “Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago. What is going on there – totally out of control. Chicago needs help!”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said crime in Chicago was “driven more by morality” than access to guns.
In February, Trump attributed some of Chicago’s violence to illegal immigrants.
“So much of the problems — you look at Chicago and you look at other places,” the President previously said. “So many of the problems are caused by gang members, many of whom are not even legally in our country.”
Authorities in Chicago have repeatedly said that access to guns — often brought to Illinois from neighboring states — is the primary driver of the city’s violence.