Hours after President Donald Trump slammed him on a national stage, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said the criticism “tells me I’m doing the right thing.”
Johnson called a news conference soon after the president spoke to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“Today, the same police officers the president criticized for their inability to protect this city spent all day protecting him,” Johnson said.
Early in his remarks, Trump spent several minutes going after Johnson, who last week had said he would not attend the speech.
Trump, noting the number of homicides in Chicago, said Johnson was skipping the speech because “he’s not doing his job. ... Under Johnson’s leadership, they certainly don’t protect people.”
Johnson fired back from CPD headquarters.
“Facts matter and everyone in this room knows that,” told reporters. The city has had “double digit reductions in the last three years” in crime.
Johnson didn’t attend “because the values of the people of Chicago are more important to me than anything that could be said in the speech,” the chief had said in a statement last week.
“Eddie Johnson wants to talk about values?” Trump retorted Monday.
“People like Johnson want to put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago,” he added. “To me, those values are a disgrace.”
Said Johnson: “Getting caught up in negativity has just never been something that I do, and I’m certainly not going to do it now,” Johnson said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot — who has not committed to Johnson long-term but nonetheless has defended him when necessary — also responded to Trump at length — on Twitter, the president’s frequent platform of choice.
After criticizing Trump for his “ignorant buffoonery,” she also said “our city and our police department will not be lectured on our duty to “serve and protect” by someone who puts children in cages.”