President Trump blasted Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in a letter Friday over ongoing gun violence that has plagued the city in recent years, accusing both Democrats of putting “your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety and fortunes of your own citizens.”
Trump cited a June 8 Chicago Sun-Times report that said 85 people were shot and 24 killed during a violent weekend before saying the city is more dangerous than the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Among those killed over the deadly weekend referenced in the report was a “hardworking father,” a high school student and a college freshman who hoped to become a correctional officer, Trump said.
“Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect,” Trump wrote. “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.”
Trump said Chicago has received millions in federal funds to support public safety. He also extended an olive branch to both leaders to tackle the city’s high crime rate and high taxes.
“If you are willing to put partisanship aside, we can revitalize distressed neighborhoods in Chicago, together,” Trump said. “But to succeed, you must establish law and order.”
Jordan Abudayyeh, Pritzker’s press secretary, called Trump a “failure” and said the letter was a political stunt to distract from “from his long list of failures, especially his response to the deadly coronavirus and nationwide calls for racial justice,” the Sun-Times reported.
“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,” Abudayyeh said.
Lightfoot also responded via Twitter.
“I don’t need leadership lessons from Donald Trump,” she wrote, adding that the letter was part of the “same old tired playbook.”
Trump has tried casting himself as a “law and order” president and previously accused elected leaders in Chicago and Democrats of being too soft on crime. He has taken an even tougher stance amid nationwide protests that have sometimes devolved into clashes with police and violence.