Chicago Mayor Tells Trump She’ll Defend City From Feds
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and President Trump’s relationship has become even more contentious after the president threatened to send federal officers into the city to quell protests.
The Trump administration has come under fire for sending federal agents into Portland beginning July 14. Unidentified men were seen on video arresting and detaining peaceful demonstrators calling for changes in policing, angering local politicians and inciting additional protests against the presence of federal law enforcement personnel, according to The Oregonian.
Media outlets reported that people were seen being pulled from the streets into unmarked vans by federal law enforcement officers with no explanation, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports. While officials said U.S. Marshals were sent to the city to protect federal property, people who weren’t even near federal property were detained, according to OPB.
Although that action spurred anger among local politicians and demonstrators, Trump has continued his threats to deploy federal agents to various cities around the country. In a tweet on July 19, he blamed Democrats for unrest and violence in inner cities.
“The Radical Left Democrats, who totally control Biden, will destroy our Country as we know it. Unimaginably bad things would happen to America,” Trump tweeted. “Look at Portland, where the pols are just fine with 50 days of anarchy. We sent in help. Look at New York, Chicago, Philadelphia. NO!”
The president targeted Chicago during a White House press conference on Monday after the city recorded that a dozen were killed and 63 others were wounded by gunfire.
“How about Chicago? Would you say they need help after this weekend?” Trump said to reporters, according to the AP. “You know the numbers that you hear, the numbers? Many, many shot. Many, many killed.”
In response, Lightfoot sent a letter to the White House rejecting the idea of deployment of federal agents who “arrest, and detain residents without any cause,” according to the Associated Press.
Trump has long pledged to send in federal troops to stop violent crime in inner cities and criticizing mayors for not being able to address the problem. The Department of Homeland Security is putting together plans to send about 150 agents to Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported.
In Lightfoot’s letter, the mayor said that bringing in federal agents to Chicago would be dangerous and make communities there unsafe. She suggested other measures like universal background checks, federal enforcement of existing laws and help from the federal government on illegal gun sales.
“What we do not need,” Lightfoot wrote, “and what will certainly make our community less safe is secret, federal agents deployed to Chicago. Any other form of militarized assistance within our borders that would not be within our control or within the direct command of the Chicago Police Department would spell disaster,”
Lightfoot also requested that Trump give more aid to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials and federal prosecutors. Lightfoot is a former federal prosecutor herself.
“We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully,” Lightfoot said, according to the Tribune.
During an interview with Joy Reid on MSNBC Monday night, Lightfoot said she would defend her city against Trump’s plans in light of the scenes coming out of Portland.
“If they try it, I’m going to use every tool at my disposal to stop them,” she said. “We still have a constitution, we still have laws on the books and I’m going to use those to deploy against them. We’re not going to have tyranny in the city of Chicago. It’s just not going to happen.
Lightfoot, along with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have jointly sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr objecting to deployment of federal forces to respond to social unrest.
“Deployment of federal forces in the streets of our communities has not been requested, nor is it acceptable,” the letter read.