Bobby Rush says Donald Trump has agreed to visit Chicago
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U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush says President Donald Trump has agreed to visit Chicago, a city he often chides for its violence and murder rate.
The congressman said he made the invitation Tuesday night moments before Trump gave his first speech before a joint session of Congress. Rush stopped the president for a few moments before he stepped up to the podium.
“The legislator said the nation’s chief executive agreed to visit the city, which has been under a national spotlight after Trump threatened to ‘send in the feds’ to curb violence,” Rush’s office said.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment about the invitation.
Rush’s office noted in his statement that Trump, in his speech, “assailed Chicago’s shooting rate by erroneously stating the current [year] had already surpassed last year’s numbers.”
In his speech, Trump said there were more than 4,000 people shot in Chicago last year “and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher.”
Although Trump invoked Chicago frequently during the campaign, his only public visit was to the Polish National Alliance headquarters in September. A March rally last year at the UIC Pavilion was canceled over safety concerns as protesters flooded the arena. Trump visited Chicago — staying at his Trump Tower — several times during the campaign for private fundraisers.
Trump brought up Chicago 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 suggested that direct intervention with street gang leaders might be a good idea.
On Feb. 7, talking to a group of sheriffs in the White House, Trump compared Chicago to violence in unnamed Middle East nations.
He last year compared Chicago to a “war-torn country” during the first presidential debate, and he focused on Chicago’s murder numbers at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last year — using it to jab at President Barack Obama, who at the time was making a big push for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“You don’t have good community relations in Chicago. It’s terrible. I have property there. It’s terrible what’s going on in Chicago,” Trump said at the televised debate.
Trump brought up Chicago when asked about race and how to bridge a “wide and bitter gap” in the wake of police shootings of African-Americans.
“You walk down the street, you get shot,” Trump said. “In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands since Jan. 1. Thousands of shootings. And I say, where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing?”
And 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 Chicago Police Department denied that Trump met with a top cop.
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.
Contributing: Lynn Sweet