- The Washington Times - Friday, June 26, 2020

President Trump on Friday night urged the mayor of Chicago and governor of Illinois, both Democrats, to get control of violence that he said is disproportionately harming young Blacks on a “shocking scale.”

In a letter to Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Mr. Trump noted news reports that shootings across the city increased by 71% in May, and that 102 people were shot during one weekend recently. He accused the mayor and governor of failed leadership and of wasting taxpayer dollars spent on public safety.

“More Americans have been killed in Chicago than in combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq combined since September 11, 2001, a deadly trend that has continued under your tenure,” the president said.

Mr. Trump offered in the letter to help “tackle unsolved challenges” in improving public safety. He said if the mayor and the governor “were willing to put partisanship aside, we can revitalize distressed neighborhood in Chicago, together.”

“But to succeed, you must establish law and order,” he said. “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 Pritzker spokeswoman told the Chicago Sun-Times that the president was trying to “to politicize tragedy.”

“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,” Jordan Abudayyeh told the paper. “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.”

In his letter, Mr. Trump cited a huge taxpayer expense on the city with no apparent results.

“The American people (hardworking taxpayers) send you millions of dollars in federal funding each year to support public safety in Chicago,” the president said. “In 2018 and 2019, the City of Chicago benefited from $136 million in funding from the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program, and another $68 million was recently announced for Chicago from this important program.”

He noted further that the Department of Justice awarded and is in the process of awarding nearly $20 million to support law enforcement and law-enforcement related entities in the city and Cook County in 2019 and 2020, “including resources for combating opioid abuse and recidivism reduction.”

“My administration allocated $898.6 million to the City of Chicago and Cook County from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which helps support your first responders on the front lines,” Mr. Trump said. “In the absence of any modicum of leadership, however, these substantial sums of taxpayer money are not being turned into results, and the safety of your most vulnerable communities continues to deteriorate. These funds are in addition to those collected through your combined insatiable appetite to tax the people of Illinois and Chicago.”

He went on, “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.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide