After calling FOP chief a ‘clown’ earlier this week, Lightfoot calls for civility in discourse

Lightfoot said debate and civil discourse are pillars of democracy. But she didn’t back down earlier this week when asked about aiming belittling language at the head of the Chicago police union.

SHARE After calling FOP chief a ‘clown’ earlier this week, Lightfoot calls for civility in discourse
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Mayor Lori Lightfoot

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for civility in discourse between people of opposing views Friday — days after she called the Chicago police union president a “cartoon character,” “clown” and a “total fraud” in a series of text messages.

“I worry a lot about our young people growing up in the age of social media, in the age of devices and disconnection,” Lightfoot said during a virtual panel discussion focused on justice and equity.

“I worry a lot about how we are allowing discourse to be shaped. I don’t want my daughter, my precious 12-year-old, to think that the way she ‘wins’ is by destroying and vilifying anybody who stands in her way. And I think that in this moment, where so many cross currents are blowing, I think we’ve got to separate out the noise and figure out a way, a path forward, for civil discussion and debate that leads to solutions.”

The message stands in stark contrast with her text exchange earlier this week with John Catanzara, the head of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Lightfoot belittled Catanzara in a series of texts after Catanzara’s decision to send President Donald Trump a letter pleading for federal help in combating the city’s gun violence.

When asked about the exchange, Lightfoot doubled down on her word choices, telling reporters at a news conference Wednesday: “I don’t take back one word that I said.”

Lightfoot said she’s tried to engage with Catanzara in a “constructive way” but hasn’t had much luck.

“In the middle of everything that’s going on, in a craven political move, this man waved his hand to President Trump and invited him to bring federal troops into our city, federal troops into our city, a la Portland,” Lightfoot said at the news conference. “How is that responsible? How does that make sense? What he should be doing is focusing on the things that [are] actually important to his members.”

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