In his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump on Tuesday called out Chicago’s murder rate, saying such violence is “not acceptable in our society.”
“In Chicago, more than 4,000 people were shot last year alone – and the murder rate so far this year has been even higher,” Trump said.
As of last week, 2017 Chicago homicides outpaced those for the same time period last year, reaching the 99th homicide two days earlier, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community, to attend a great school, and to have access to a high-paying job,” Trump said. “But to create this future, we must work with – not against – the men and women of law enforcement.”
Trump urged Congress and Americans to support “the incredible men and women of law enforcement.” He said he ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office called Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) to assist victims of crime.
In response, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city has “repeatedly made specific requests of the administration.”
“Because this is so important, I’ll always be ready with this list whenever the President asks,” Emanuel said. “The better question, I’d suggest, is whether the President cares enough about violence in our city to do more than talk or tweet about it.”
Emanuel said the city has requested “greater law enforcement integration and resources; a higher priority placed on federal gun prosecutions; and funds restored toward mentoring and after-school and summer jobs programs that have proven to be positive alternatives for our young people.”
Earlier in the speech, Trump said the government has “ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit” while focusing on global projects.
“I will not allow the mistakes of recent decades past to define the course of our future,” he said.
This is the latest in a series of mentions about Chicago, on Twitter and in speeches.
Last week, Trump declared “Chicago needs help!” on Twitter and referenced Chicago’s violence in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“I mean, can you believe what’s happening in Chicago as an example?” Trump said at CPAC. “Two days ago, seven people were shot and I believe killed. Seven people, seven people, Chicago, a great American city, seven people shot and killed.”
Seven people, including a pregnant woman, were fatally shot in Chicago. The next day Trump tweeted “what is going on there?”
“We will support the incredible men and women of law enforcement,” he said to much applause.
Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago. What is going on there – totally out of control. Chicago needs help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2017
Trump’s tweet was sent almost one month after the president announced he would “send in the Feds!” if Chicago did not fix the unyielding violence it has grappled with for so long.
Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson called the bloodshed “unacceptable” in a statement Thursday night and noted the city’s request for federal help has so far gone unanswered.
“We have challenges with gun violence in several neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city. It’s unacceptable to me, to the Mayor and to everyone who lives in Chicago,” Johnson said. “We’ve made requests to the White House and the Justice Department for them to support our work – from increasing federal gun prosecution to more FBI, DEA and ATF agents to more funding for mentoring, job training and more. We are still waiting for the administration’s response to our request.”
Published at 9:26 PM CST on Feb 28, 2017 | Updated at 11:54 PM CST on Feb 28, 2017