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In less than five hours, Trump slams Chicago crime, ridicules top cop, raises $4M — and sparks protests comparing him to Hitler

“There is one person who is not here today. Where is he? I want to talk to him,” Trump said of Police Supt. Eddie Johnson. “In fact, more than anyone else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something.”

President Donald Trump speaks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention at McCormick Place on Monday.
President Donald Trump speaks at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention at McCormick Place on Monday.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

President Donald Trump on Monday hit the ground running during his first presidential visit to Chicago — taking direct aim at Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson for his support of sanctuary cities and for his politically motivated decision to skip the president’s speech to an annual law enforcement convention.

Trump also rounded up $4 million to help his campaign and other Republicans at a private fundraiser.

Outside the fundraising event at Trump International Tower and Hotel, more than a thousand protesters voiced their displeasure at the president. Trump hasn’t attended a public event in Chicago since a 2016 campaign visit to the Polish National Alliance’s Northwest Side headquarters.

In less than five hours on Monday, Trump revisited his standard lines about the dangers of Chicago — Afghanistan is safer, he said — while lambasting Johnson before high-ranking police officials at the International Association of Chiefs of Police convention. Trump lit into Chicago’s top cop for his political ideology and the city’s murder rate.

“It’s embarrassing for us as a nation,” Trump said. “All over the world they’re talking about Chicago. Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison. It’s true.”

Chicago is a sanctuary city, with the support of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot. And Trump dug into that status, claiming Johnson had denied more than 1,000 requests from immigration officials to detain immigrants in Cook County.

“Chicago is unfortunately the worst sanctuary city in America. Chicago protects criminals at a level few could even imagine,” Trump said, adding “people like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago.”

The president called those values “a disgrace.”

Johnson last week said he’d skip the speech because “the values of the people of Chicago are more important to me than anything that could be said in the speech.”

Trump addressed the snub head on.

“There is one person who is not here today. Where is he? I want to talk to him,” Trump said. “In fact, more than anyone else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something, and that’s the superintendent of the Chicago Police, Eddie Johnson,” Trump said to applause.

Trump called Johnson’s rebuke of his visit “a very insulting statement after all I’ve done for the police.”

“I’ve done more than any president has ever done for the police,” the president said.

Lightfoot, in a tweet, criticized the president for “his insulting, ignorant buffoonery” and voiced support for Johnson.

“Luckily, in this city, we know the truth and we will not let anyone — no matter how high the office — denigrate who we are as a people or our status as a welcoming city.”

And holding a press conference later Monday, Johnson said the criticism “tells me I’m doing the right thing.”

“Facts matter and everyone in this room knows that,” Johnson told reporters. The city has had “double digit reductions in the last three years” in crime.

And citing an embarrassing chapter for Chicago police, Trump, too, brought up the investigation into actor Jussie Smollett.

“It’s a scam,” Trump said. “It is a real big scam just like the impeachment of your president is a scam.”

President Donald Trump departs O’Hare International Airport on Monday.
President Donald Trump departs O’Hare International Airport on Monday.
Evan Vucci/AP

Attending Trump’s speech were Attorney General William Barr, as well as part of the the state’s GOP delegation to Congress, U.S. Reps. Mike Bost, Darin LaHood and Rodney Davis.

Standing alongside Barr, Trump also signed an executive order establishing the Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, designed to study issues facing law enforcement, such as substance abuse, homelessness and mental illness. The White House said the commission will look at best practices for recruiting, training and supporting law enforcement officers.

And the president told the audience his administration is “once again standing up for law enforcement.

“We’re condemning anti-police bias in all forms, and we’re giving you the support, resources, and the respect,” Trump said. And we have tremendous respect for you — the respect that you deserve.”

Trump said Barr will announce a “new crackdown” on violent crime in the coming weeks to target gangs and drug traffickers in high crime cities.

“The best way to reduce gun violence is to put criminals with firearms behind bars,” Trump said to applause. “And just so you understand, because I think there is no stronger protector than me: We will always protect our Second Amendment. Always.”

Trump left the McCormick Place convention to attend a fundraiser co-hosted by Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts. A Republican official told the White House pool that $4 million was raised from the lunch, where about 250 guests were expected. The money went to the Trump Victory fund, a joint fundraising committee benefiting the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Well over 1,000 people flocked to Wacker Drive Monday afternoon — directly across from Trump’s namesake skyscraper.

With signs comparing the president to Adolf Hitler, a piñata and chants calling for his removal from office, the group swelled to the point Chicago Police Department blocked all traffic between Michigan and Wabash avenues.

“He’s a draft dodging, tax dodging, science dodging, fact dodging, wife dodging, Russian puppet con man,” said Mary McDonald, who lives in the western suburbs.

On the outskirts of the gathering, a small contingent of Trump supporters offered full-throated defenses of the president. A handful of anti-Trump protesters could be seen speaking with them — passionately but politely — and dissecting their differences of opinion.

But the anti-Trump crowd were in the majority.

Protesters rally across the river from Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago on Monday.
Protesters rally across the river from Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago on Monday.
Victor Hilitski/For the Sun-Time

Anke Koning, of the South Loop, said she came to the protest “to let him know we’re not happy with him.”

Asked for her specific grievances against the president, Koning said: “Consorting with foreign nations is No. 1. It’s an endless litany thereafter.”

Contributing: Stefano Esposito