President Donald Trump called Chicago and New York “stupidly run” cities, putting the blame for violent crime in both places at the feet of their two Democratic mayors during an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
In a short clip of the sit-down discussion the cable news network released Friday, Wallace asks Trump about the amount of shootings and homicides in two of the nation’s largest cities — a topic that the president repeatedly has raised in recent weeks — and what he intends to do about it.
“I explain it very simply by saying they’re Democrat-run cities, they are liberally run. They are stupidly run,” Trump says in the interview that is scheduled to air on Sunday.
Wallace pushes back, saying “liberal Democrats have been running cities in this country for decades” only for Trump to interrupt with “poorly.” Wallace continues, asking why the president thinks the violence has flared up so much right now.
“They run them poorly. It was always bad, but now it’s gotten totally out of control and it’s really because they want to defund the police and Biden wants to defund the police,” Trump said of presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden — to which Wallace corrects “sir, he does not.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has rejected calls among activists nationwide to “defund the police” — a call to cut law enforcement funding and allocate it in other areas such as social services.
The Republican president has been pushing a “law and order” message as he enters the final stretch of his re-election campaign against a Democratic challenger whose polling numbers are higher. Trump has been pushing a theme that Democrat-run cities are falling apart.
Lightfoot, responding earlier Friday to a similar slam from Trump’s press secretary, said such criticism from Trump is his attempt to heap blame on Democrats for political purposes in order to “change the subject from their failed leadership.”
“What we’ve seen, and, unfortunately, what we’re going to continue to see, is the Trump administration obviously thinks they will score some political points by trying to demonize and make Democratic mayors, particularly women mayors. ... They think they’re going to take us on and make us look bad because that will score points with their base,” Lightfoot told reporters at an unrelated news conference.
Earlier this week, President Trump vaguely referenced an upcoming announcement on how his administration intends to deal with crime those cities, again citing Chicago’s violence.In a briefing with reporters about his ongoing efforts to deal with the MS-13 gang, Trump said he would have more to say next week “with the attorney general, the FBI and others concerning our cities, because the left-wing group of people that are running our cities are not doing the job that they’re supposed to be doing, and it’s not a very tough job to do if they knew what they were doing.”
He later said, “We’re going to straighten things out” but did not offer specifics.
The Tribune’s John Byrne contributed.
Lisa Donovan is the host of The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons.
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