After a speech in Middletown, Pennsylvania, this week, President Trump sat for an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. No doubt it was friendly territory. For the president, Mr. Hannity’s questions were underhand softballs tossed down the center of the plate, and the replies were vintage Trump.
The line of questioning went to crime in certain American cities, bloody Chicago among them.
The president’s comments drew the typical sneering response from Washington Post typists Philip Rucker and Damian Paletta, whose piece bore the caption: “Trump says minorities ‘want’ and ‘need’ more police protection than other Americans.”
Minorities “want” and “need” more police protection than others? More lies and twisted reality by the clearly unhinged madman in the Oval Office!
Well, maybe not quite.
The president was responding to numbers offered by Mr. Hannity that should chill anyone living in Chicago, or even contemplating passing through, and responding to a question about how his policies might help struggling minorities.
Mr. Hannity: Um, when you look at the Obama years Chicago, one city, his adopted hometown. Thirty-nine hundred people were murdered. In the last six years of Obama’s presidency, 18,000 shootings .
Mr. Trump: First of all, minorities want police protection, more than anybody. They need it more than anybody. It’s, what’s going on is crazy. You look at some of these inner cities where it’s just out of control. You look at Chicago, it’s out of control.
Sorry Post, Mr. Trump is again right.
This is the same liberal press that is working hard to shape thinking on the very real rise of violent crime since Ferguson because, to them, nothing said or done by President Obama could be responsible to the sudden and now persistent rise of violent crime after a quarter century of decline.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, murder in the U.S. increased by 10.8 percent in 2015, reflecting an estimated additional 1,447 murder victims over 2014. The jump wasn’t a one-year aberration. Recently released figures point to a trend as murders are now estimated to have climbed another 8.6 percent, with more than 1,500 additional homicides in 2016. The two-year trend has now racked up more than 3,000 additional murder victims in America before we even stack bloody 2017 on top.
Few reports of the trend now miss discussion of the plight of two democratic strongholds — Chicago and Baltimore.
Again, the president is right. Chicago is thought to be responsible for almost one-fifth of the national increase in homicides. The numbers for just 2016 harken to Iraq in the throes of the insurgency, earning the Windy City the grim moniker, “Chiraq.” In that single year, Chicago authorities reported more than 760 murders with 4,200 reportedly shot. Children die from gunfire weekly, yet the misplaced Washington Post pushback is pointed, always, at the president, this time for his outrage.
The second epicenter of pain is Baltimore, a city in decline with its descent accelerated by the Molotov cocktail of Freddie Gray and disgraced chief prosecutor Marilyn Mosby.
In the wake of the Freddie Gray riots, Baltimore endured a record-setting homicide count in 2015, tallying 344 murders. On a per capita basis, it was Baltimore’s deadliest year in history. Baltimore’s deadly toll fell off slightly in 2016 but was tracking higher again in 2017, and in the horrific competition of murder rates, Baltimore was, on a per capita basis, deadlier than Chicago.
Among the commonalities between Chicago and Baltimore, both referred to by Mr. Trump in his Hannity chat, are victim demographics and political power.
The Baltimore Sun publishes a homicide pin map. It shows of 318 murders in that city in 2016, 291 victims were black. I’d call that overwhelmingly black.
Now look at Chicago — this time, the Chicago Sun Times online homicide watch. Simply scanning the faces of the victims and looking at the neighborhood pin map tells a viewer what they need to know about the demographics of crime in that once-great city. The victims are overwhelmingly male, overwhelmingly black, and overwhelmingly killed in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. They are the very minorities Mr. Trump lamented being ignored by Mr. Obama or years of Democratic rule. And the very minorities he and his attorney general were determined to make safer with the application of federal law enforcement resources and changing policies.
Baltimore has been led by Democratic mayors since 1967, Chicago’s Democratic run dates to 1927.
Mr. Trump was right. Minorities in these Democratic stronghold cities and others badly need more police and more policing, not less. And they badly need to consider what their past votes have cost them.
• Ron Hosko is president of the Law Enforcement Action Network and a former FBI assistant director.