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Trump to speak to police chiefs group in Chicago Monday; CPD Supt. Johnson to boycott speech

Trump, for years a critic of Chicago’s handling of crime, slammed the city in a speech to the police chiefs group at its annual conference last year in Orlando.

President Donald Trump Meets With His Cabinet At The White House
President Donald Trump
Getty Images

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump — for years a critic of how Chicago handles crime — on Monday, in his first visit to the city as president, plans to deliver a speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, an event Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson vowed to boycott.

Trump slammed the city in a speech to the police chiefs group at its annual conference last year in Orlando. While Johnson attended that chiefs’ meeting in Orlando, he skipped Trump’s speech, his spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, told Chicago the Sun-Times.

Johnson as the “host chief” of the conference running from Saturday through Tuesday at McCormick Place will attend other conference functions and sessions, Guglielmi said.

A White House official told the Sun-Times “the IACP was the first law enforcement association to endorse the President’s First Step Act, which prepares inmates to successfully rejoin society and enacts commonsense sentencing reforms to make our justice system fairer for all Americans.

“President Trump is expected to discuss his strong record on law enforcement, the historic First Step Act legislation, and economic actions taken to reduce crime and recidivism, including Opportunity Zones.”

The Sun-Times reported earlier this month that Trump was likely to speak to the police chiefs organization.

Johnson said through his spokesman that he is “very much looking forward to hosting America’s police chiefs and participating in collaborative discussions around domestic police policy. However, I will not be attending the presidents’ remarks because the values of the people of Chicago are more important to me than anything that could be said in the speech.”

Former Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson has said he will not attend President Trump’s speech to the International Association of Chiefs of Police when it meets in Chicago next week.
Sun-Times file photo

Trump also hits Chicago for a fundraising lunch co-hosted by Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts, chairman of the combined fundraising efforts for the Trump 2020 campaign and the Republican National Committee. The lunch is likely to be at the Trump International Hotel & Tower, 401 N. Wabash Ave. The top tab for that event is $100,000, according to an invitation obtained by the Sun-Times.

Trump has been focusing on Chicago crime since his 2016 presidential campaign, accusing city leaders of thwarting police and at one point pledging to “send in the Feds.”

Pushing back, Chicago officials have declared Chicago a sanctuary city in the wake of Trump’s immigration crackdowns and have fought other policy directives from the Trump White House, including an attempt to deny law enforcement grants.

Last year in Orlando, Trump, saying police need more “stop and frisk” power, also said “the crime spree is a terrible blight on that city. And we’ll do everything possible to get it done. I know the law enforcement people in Chicago, and I know how good they are,” he said. “They could solve the problem if they were simply allowed to do their job and do their job properly, and that’s what they want to do.”

One of Trump’s more sensational claims, which has never been proved, is that he talked to a “top police officer in Chicago” who told him he could stop crime in the city “within one week.”

Trump, in a pre-election Aug. 23, 2016 interview with then-Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said,All I know is this. I went to a top police officer in Chicago who is not the police chief. And he, I could see, by the way, he was dealing with his people. He was a rough, tough guy. They respected him greatly. I said, ‘how do you think you do it? ‘He said, ‘Mr. Trump. Within one week, we could stop much of this.”

O’Reilly asked, “But he didn’t tell you exactly, precisely how?” No, and I didn’t ask him, because I’m not the mayor of Chicago.”

The Chicago police said in statement at the time that no one in the senior command at CPD had ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign.

Once president, on Feb. 1, 2017, Trump was told by a minister at a White House meeting billed as an “African-American History Month listening session” that he was talking to members of “top gangs” in Chicago to reduce violence.

Trump liked the idea, and said, if city officials don’t take steps, “we’re going to solve the problem for them,” suggesting direct intervention with street gang leaders might be a good idea.

“Because we’re going to have to do something,” Trump said, “What’s happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.” Trump said violence in the city was “totally out of control.”

PRIOR TRUMP VISITS TO CHICAGO OR ILLINOIS

When it comes to other Chicago visits, Trump had planned a pre-Illinois primary campaign rally in Chicago on March 11, 2016. But that rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago was canceled about half an hour before it was scheduled to start after protesters sparked security concerns.

A few days later, Trump brought his campaign to an airplane hangar in Downstate Bloomington.

On Sept. 28, 2016, Trump, then the GOP nominee, returned to Chicago for a campaign event at the Polish National Alliance headquarters, 6100 N. Cicero Ave., and a fundraiser in southwest suburban Bolingbrook. His visit came two days after he compared Chicago to a “war-torn country” because of its crime.

Trump has been to other parts of Illinois twice as president.

On July 26, 2018, Trump spoke at a U.S. Steel mill in Granite City, not far from St. Louis. And on Oct. 27, 2018, days before the midterm elections, Trump headlined a rally for GOP candidates in Downstate Murphysboro.