Politics

Trump Excludes Chicago Officials From Windy City Crime Discussion

President says city has been “an absolute and total disaster”

President Donald Trump, here on the Hill in June, met with governors and state officials Thursday to discuss a prison policy overhaul. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump declared Chicago “an absolute and total disaster” and vowed to discuss crime in the Midwestern hub with governors and other state officials he hosted Thursday at his New Jersey golf resort to talk about a prison policy overhaul.

There was one catch: He did not invite any Chicago or Illinois officials.

“We must strengthen community bonds with law enforcement, including cities like Chicago that have been an absolute and total disaster,” Trump said.

“We’ll be talking about Chicago today because that is something that in terms of our nation nobody could believe it could be happening,” he said. “Probably, I guess you have to take it from the leadership. That’s bad leadership.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was chief of staff to former President Barack Obama, is a Democrat. But Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is a Republican, and he was not around the long table at the Bedminster resort, however. (Rauner is also facing a difficult re-election this fall.)

“There’s no reason in a million years that something like that should be happening,” Trump said of the Windy City.

He railed against crime and violence in the city as a candidate and has continued to do so as president. But his administration has yet to lay out a Chicago-specific plan.

In June 2017, Trump did tweet he was “sending in Federal help” to combat gun-related crime in Chicago. But he sent only 20 ATF agents.

Trump’s comments came on the same day his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, announced the administration would offer $3.4 billion in grants to states to help crime victims. 

“Almost all of the funds — $3.3 billion — will come from fines, fees, and special assessments paid by criminals, not the taxpayer. So this grant is helping crime victims and it’s also holding criminals accountable,” Sessions said at an event in Macon, Georgia.  

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