Fired Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Tuesday he proudly accepted a $5,600 campaign contribution from former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, but will not be dragged into a discussion about Giuliani’s support for President Donald Trump.
The $5,600 contribution from the politician, who earned the nickname “America’s Mayor” after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, came as McCarthy inches closer to a 2019 race for mayor against Rahm Emanuel.
“Rudy Giuliani has been a friend and a mentor to me for more than 20 years. I was with him on 9/11. He’s the guy who turned New York City in the direction that it’s still going in. Maybe Chicago should pay attention,” McCarthy said.
“I’m happy and proud that he supports me and thinks that I can do a job like this. You don’t abandon your friends because of their politics. It has nothing to do with his politics,” he said. “It has to do with the fact that I worked for the guy for two years. Loyalty. Try it, Chicago.”
McCarthy said the Giuliani contribution “means that America’s mayor respects my ability to run a city. The guy knows me very well and knows what I’m capable of. It’s no deeper than that.”
As hard as Emanuel and his surrogates may try, McCarthy said he will not be drawn into a discussion about Trump or about Giuliani’s outspoken support for Trump, particularly during a fiery speech at the Republican National Convention.
Referring to his role as chief crime strategist in the New York Police Department, McCarthy said, “It would be impossible for me to have been in my position in New York and not have known Donald Trump. So, for him to say something positive about me — suddenly I [am no good]? Come on. I also know Cory Booker, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Janet Napolitano. I mean — stop. It’s just stupid.”
McCarthy said he’s “been a Democrat from the day I could vote” and he “shouldn’t have to” explain whether he is for or against Trump — not even in this overwhelmingly Democratic city.
“Rahm makes everything a diversion. Let’s talk about global warming, instead of violence on the South Side of Chicago — what he’s actually accountable for. That’s the game he plays. I’m just not gonna play into it,” McCarthy said.
“If Donald Trump is gonna come and fix Chicago, let’s talk about him. Otherwise, let’s stop the nonsense. Let’s talk about bullets flying on the South and West Side and what anybody in this city is doing about it right now. . . . Do we want to talk about Brexit at the same time? That has as much to do with what’s happening in Chicago as Donald Trump.”
McCarthy has scheduled a Feb. 11 fundraiser and set up an interactive website that will be used to raise money. He’s awaiting results of a poll that will help him decide whether to challenge the mayor who fired him.
Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), Emanuel’s City Council floor leader, said if McCarthy decides to enter the race, he will be forced to explain to Chicago voters whether Trump’s flattering remarks about McCarthy signal a mutual admiration society.
“Of course he’s gonna have to answer for that because Trump has become an obsession with everyone. He keeps the entire country on edge,” O’Connor said.
“To the extent that people have great concerns about the presidency and what it does to the average American on a daily basis, and you look at Chicago and where the majority of the sentiments of people exist — he’s gonna have to clarify one way or the other.”
Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) was even more outspoken about what he perceives as McCarthy’s ties to Trump and possible mayoral challenger Paul Vallas’ ties to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“You have one person who’s best known for privatizing public education in New Orleans after one of the country’s most horrific natural disasters. Then, you have a former police superintendent who swears by broken windows and failed policing strategies and has been very nice to Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani,” said Pawar, who hasn’t ruled out a race for mayor himself.
“I don’t know what percentage Trump got in the city, but it’s probably about the same as Bruce Rauner. . . . If I was Rahm Emanuel and I had to run against Bruce Rauner or Donald Trump in the next mayoral race, I’d be pretty happy about it.”
Vallas could not be reached for comment. He was Democrat Pat Quinn’s running mate for lieutenant governor in 2014 only to become Rauner’s choice to turn around Chicago State University. That’s a job Vallas lost earlier this week because of his flirtation with mayoral politics.