Trump to Chicago: Fix ‘carnage’ or the feds are coming
WASHINGTONU.S. President Donald Trump threatened late Jan. 24 to send in the “feds” if America’s third-largest city of Chicago failed to bring its rampant crime rate under control.
The Republican, who made law and order a key issue in his White House campaign, cited the city’s latest shooting and homicide statistics as reported by the Chicago Tribune.
“If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” Trump said in a post on his personal Twitter account.
The city, former President Barack Obama’s adopted home town, has the worst violent crime statistics of any major U.S. metropolis.
It wasn’t clear if Trump meant he would federalize the local police force, send in federal reinforcements, or some other action.
The Chicago Police Department said in a statement that it was “more than willing to work” with federal agencies such as the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to “boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago.”
A Chicago Police Department spokesman, Frank Giancamilli, disputed the Tribune’s numbers, saying there were 182 shootings in the city from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23, “which is exactly flat from last year,” according to Reuters. He said homicides have numbered 38 year to date, compared with 33 for this time in 2016.
Still, the Tribune said its latest figures put the city on track to exceed last January’s 50 homicides, the most for that month in at least 16 years. Chicago’s homicide toll for 2016 as a whole reached 762 killings, the most in 20 years.
Meanwhile, Trump on Jan. 24 revived two pipeline projects blocked by his predecessor on environmental grounds, signaling his determination to undo Obama’s legacy.
Trump gave a conditional go-ahead to the Keystone XL pipeline - which would carry oil from Canadian tar sands to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast - and an equally controversial pipeline crossing in North Dakota.
Both had been put on hold by Obama’s administration.
True to his claim to be a hard-charging dealmaker, Trump said both pipeline projects would only be built subject to renegotiated terms and conditions.
“We are going to renegotiate some of the terms and, if they like, we’ll see if we can get that pipeline built,” he said.
Since being sworn in on Jan. 20, Trump has begun rolling out an orthodox Republican agenda.
He has moved to curb funding for abortions, embraced Israel, frozen government hiring and sought to loosen environmental regulations.
His administration has also sought to place a tighter grip on departments that may not be sympathetic to his politics.