President Donald Trump sent a searing letter to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) on Friday, calling on them to address the violent crime problem in the city of Chicago and lambasting them for not doing more to protect its citizens.
What are the details?
The president urged Pritzker and Lightfoot to take “action on the devastating violence in Chicago,” citing a Chicago Sun-Times article from June 8 titled “18 murders in 24 hours: Inside the most violent day in 60 years in Chicago.”
Trump listed a number of “horrors” recounted in the article — including the murders of a high school student and 3-year-old toddler — and wrote, “your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect. I am concerned it is another example of your lack of commitment to the vulnerable citizens who are victims of this violence and a lack of respect for the men and women in law enforcement.”
President Trump dedicated a lengthy paragraph naming programs totaling hundreds of millions of federal dollars sent to the city of Chicago in recent years, before reminding the mayor and governor of actions his administration has taken to address criminal justice reform and help low-income communities.
In closing, the president wrote:
Unlike previous Administrations of both parties, I am willing to tackle unresolved challenges. If you are willing to put partisanship aside, we can revitalize distressed neighborhoods in Chicago, together. But to succeed, you must establish law and order. The combination of crime, high State and local taxes, and onerous State and local regulations have caused thousands of Illinoisans to flee to other states. Between 2010 and 2019, Illinois lost more of its population than any other state in the nation. If you are interested, I am willing to ask members of my Cabinet to meet with you and help devise a plan to make Chicago safe, since a successful formula has escaped both you and your predecessors. My Administration would also welcome the opportunity to engage with you and your colleagues as you develop bipartisan policy recommendations to improve policing and make our great cities safer for all.
Unfortunately, you continue to put your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety, and fortunes of your own citizens. The people of Chicago deserve better.
A spokeswoman for Gov. Pritzker reacted to the president’s letter with a statement to the Sun-Times, saying, “President Trump is a failure who has once again resorted to a press stunt in an attempt to distract from his long list of failures, especially his response to the deadly coronavirus and nationwide calls for racial justice. The people of this state and this nation have unfortunately come to expect his unhinged attempts to politicize tragedy with his predictable and worn-out strategy to distract, distract, distract.”
Mayor Lightfoot responded on Twitter, writing, “I don’t need leadership lessons from Donald Trump. As our police officers, street outreach workers and residents continue to work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, he’s using the victims of gun violence in our city to score cheap political points, spew racist rhetoric, and ignore the impact of COVID across this country.”
She added, “It is despicable, disgusting and all too typical. Same old tired playbook. How about some leadership not steeped in the divide and conquer tactics? I stand with @GovPritzker in providing for the safety and well-being of our residents.”