Trump Rips Chicago, Police Chief in Law Enforcement Speech - NBC Southern California
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Trump Rips Chicago, Police Chief in Law Enforcement Speech

Trump called Chicago's violence "embarrassing to us as a nation"

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    Trump Rips Johnson, Chicago in Speech at Police Conference

    President Donald Trump tore into Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and the city's violence in a speech to law enforcement on Monday. NBC 5's Dick Johnson reports.

     

    (Published Monday, Oct. 28, 2019)

    President Donald Trump tore into Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and the city's violence in a speech to law enforcement on Monday. 

    Johnson, who is hosting the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference that Trump addressed, previously said he would not attend the speech because he thought the "values of the people of Chicago are more important" than what Trump would say. 

    "I can't in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the Oval Office or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on new Americans," Johnson said.

    Trump took notice and addressed Johnson's absence within the first few minutes of his speech.

    "There is one person that's not here today. We're in Chicago," Trump said, after thanking several members of the IACP and the crowd. "I said, 'Where is he? I wanna talk to him.'"

    "In fact, more than anyone else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something," Trump said Monday, reading back part of Johnson's statement on values. 

    "That's a very insulting statement after all I've done for the police, and I've done more than any other president's ever done for the police. Over 100 years we can prove it but probably from the beginning."

    "Here's a man that could not bother to show up for a meeting of police chiefs, most respected people in the country, in his hometown, and with the president of the United States," Trump continued. 

    "And you know why? It's because he's not doing his job," Trump said. "Last year, 565 people were murdered in Chicago. Since Eddie Johnson has been police chief, more than 1,500 people have been murdered in Chicago and 13,067 people have been shot." 

    Trump claimed that Chicago has the "toughest gun laws" in the country, asking, "That doesn't seem to be working too well, does it?"

    Trump on Chicago's Top Cop: 'He's Not Doing His Job'

    [NATL] Trump on Chicago's Top Cop: 'He's Not Doing His Job'

    While speaking in Chicago to the International Association of Police Chiefs, President Donald Trump ripped Chicago Police Chief Eddie Johnson, who did not attend the president’s remarks.

    (Published Monday, Oct. 28, 2019)

    Trump then turned to actor Jussie Smollett, who was accused of staging a racist and homophobic attack on himself in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood in January. Smollett was indicted on multiple charges of disorderly conduct in the incident, which were all dropped earlier this year. 

    "Then you have the case of this wise guy Jussie Smollett, who beat up... himself. And he said MAGA country did it," Trump said, calling the incident a "hate crime" and a "scam" that he compared to the ongoing impeachment inquiry in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

    Trump then called Chicago the "worst sanctuary city in America," saying the city "protects criminals at a level few could even imagine." 

    "People like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago, and those are his values and frankly those values to me are a disgrace," Trump said. 

    "I want Eddie Johnson to change his values, and change them fast," Trump said. He then called Chicago's violence "embarrassing to us as a nation."

    "All over the world they're talking about Chicago. Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison. It's true," he said.

    Johnson said the "national narrative that Chicago is a city on fire is just simply not true." 

    "Facts matter," he said, touting three years straight of "double digit reduction" in crime and noting that there are "17 neighborhoods in this city that are safer than Manhattan and LA." 

    "This president is known for doing a lot of talking about the city of Chicago, but if he's truly ready to roll up his sleeves to partner with us, so are we, as long as that partnership reflects who we are as Chicagoans," Johnson said.

    He noted that the "same police officers the president criticized for their inability to protect the city spent all day protecting him." 

    Johnson also addressed Trump's comments on the city's status as a sanctuary city, saying his administration "has hurt many communities in Chicago."

    "But CPD is here, and will always be here to stand up for them," Johnson said. "We're sworn to protect and safeguard everyone in Chicago no matter where you come from, who you love or what God you worship."

    At one point in his speech, Trump relayed a story he has previously told as a candidate in 2016, about a conversation he claimed to have had with an unnamed police officer in Chicago who said he could "fix this killing problem" in one day. 

    "'These cops are great, they know all the bad guys, sir, they know exactly what to do. We could straighten it out so quickly that your head would spin,'" Trump claims the man told him, alleging Monday that the officer in question no longer worked in law enforcement. 

    When Trump told this story in an August 2016 interview, he said that he met with a "top" Chicago police officer who said he could stop the "horror show" within a week. Chicago police denied his claim at the time, saying in a statement, "We've discredited this claim months ago. No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign."

    When asked about the comments in 2016, Johnson himself addressed Trump's story as well. 

    "If you have a magic bullet to stop the violence anywhere, not just in Chicago, but in America, then please share it with us," Johnson said at the time. "We’d be glad to take that information and stop this violence." 

    When asked again about the story Monday, Johnson made a similar statement.

    "If there’s somebody that can stop crime in a day then I will bow down to them and say bring it on, but that’s just no going to happen," Johnson said, adding that when they launched a search for the "mystery cop" no one would come forward.

    Following his speech on Monday, Trump signed an executive order at the conference a White House spokesman said would "address the root causes of crime and better train, recruit and retain law enforcement officers."

    Trump's visit to Chicago Monday was his first to the city since taking office, though he's long disparaged the city's violence and its Democratic leaders. 

    Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has counted herself among Trump's critics, taking to Twitter on Monday to denounce his speech and voice support for Johnson. 

    "It's no surprise that @realDonaldTrump brought his insulting, ignorant buffoonery to Chicago," Lightfoot tweeted. "Luckily, in this city, we know the truth and we will not let anyone — no matter how high the office — denigrate who we are as a people or our status as a welcoming city."

    "Rather than belittle Chicago's communities with hateful and dishonest rhetoric, he needs to go back to D.C. and face his fate," she continued. "President Trump knows as much about policing as he does running a fair and transparent government. I stand by the Superintendent for living up to the values of this great city and its residents."

    Also on Trump's schedule for his visit Monday was a fundraiser at the Chicago Trump International Hotel and Tower, hosted in part by Todd Ricketts, the Republican National Committee finance chair and part-owner of the Chicago Cubs.

    Listed among the hosts for Monday's event were RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, Co-Chairman Tommy Hicks Jr. and Trump's Campaign Manager Brad Parscale, per an invitation obtained by NBC 5.

    Tickets to the event ranged widely in price, according to the invitation: from $2,800 per person for a ticket to the lunch to as high as $100,000 per person for access to a roundtable discussion with Trump himself.

    An estimated 3,000 people gathered near Trump Tower by around 12 p.m. CST to protest Trump's visit, chanting and holding signs calling for his impeachment. 

    Trump was last in Chicago in September 2016, when he attended a campaign event at the Polish National Alliance in the Edgebrook neighborhood, followed by a fundraiser in suburban Bolingbrook.

    He was also in Chicago in March 2016, when protests canceled a scheduled rally at the then-UIC Pavilion at the University of Illinois-Chicago. Campaign organizers told those planning to attend the rally for then-candidate Trump that after consulting with law enforcement, the decision was made to postpone the event.