CHICAGO -- The city marked its 400th homicide of the year Friday morning.
For city and county officials it’s a grim reminder of a real problem facing the city. They say, however, for President Trump, it’s simply a talking point.
President Trump spoke to a group of police officers in New York and focused part of his remarks on Chicago.
He once again hammered Chicago on the issue of violence. “Chicago is having this unbelievable violence,” Trump said. “People are being killed. … 4, 5, 6 in a weekend and I’m saying ‘What is going on?’”
But in discussing crime in the city, he went back to a story he first told on the O'Reilly Factor on Fox News during the presidential campaign in which an unidentified police officer told Trump how the problem of gun violence could be fixed.
“He said it’s a problem that can be straightened out. And I said, ‘How long would it take you to straighten out this problem?’ He said, ‘If you gave me the authority? A couple of days.’ I really mean it. He said a couple of days,” Trump said.
But the story was debunked and Trump never identified the so-called “supercop.”
Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey says he was shocked that the president repeated the discredited claim.
“I was dumbfounded that he was going to tell the same lie that he told before,” Fritchey said. “And that he was going to come out even more forcefully.”
The Trump Administration has sent additional federal agents to Chicago to help police deal with violent crime, but Fritchey says it’s reckless to tell the public that such a seemingly intractable problem could be solved virtually overnight.
“It’s one thing to lie about his business success. It’s another thing for him to lie about his ties to Russia. But when you’re going to lie about fixing the Chicago gun violence problem in two days, you either present that guy, or you fix it yourself in two days, or you admit you were lying, or you wear the blood on your hands.”
Trump says he sent the officer’s name to the mayor. The mayor’s office said it never received it.
Mayor Emanuel’s spokesman issued a statement saying
“We can only hope the president is as interested in attacking crime as he is in attacking his attorney general, transgender members of the military and the three largest cities in the country.”