Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted President Donald Trump’s daughter and White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, on Tuesday for what she called “nonsense tweets” about the city’s gun violence.
In a series of Twitter comments on Tuesday, Ivanka Trump drew national attention to Chicago’s endemic shooting problem by writing, “As we grieve over the evil mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, let us not overlook that Chicago experienced its deadliest weekend of the year. With 7 dead and 52 wounded near a playground in the Windy City — and little national outrage or media coverage — we mustn’t become numb to the violence faced by inner city communities every day.”
But Lightfoot took exception to the remarks during a news conference following her so-called Accountability Tuesday meeting with Chicago police brass to review city violence, saying Trump got key facts wrong and implied that all the injuries happened in one incident. If Ivanka Trump cared, Lightfoot said, she should’ve reached out to city officials.
“It wasn’t a playground, it was a park. It wasn’t seven dead. It wasn’t 52 wounded in one incident, which is what this suggests. It’s misleading,” Lightfoot said. “It’s important when we’re talking about people’s lives to actually get the facts correct which one can easily do if you actually cared about getting it right.”
Asked about the tweet’s reach, which included thousands of retweets and likes, Lightfoot said, “That’s the danger of somebody with a platform and audience … that doesn’t know what they’re talking about and getting the fundamental facts wrong that they can easily figure out if they had the decency to actually reach out to us if they wanted to be a constructive and engaged partner.”
Lightfoot, who harshly criticized President Trump earlier this week, said she doesn’t know whether those remarks prompted Ivanka Trump’s tweets.
“What I’m focused on is actually helping run the city of Chicago and working hard every day with the superintendent and his leadership team to keep people in our city safe,” Lightfoot said. “I’m not going to be distracted by nonsense tweets from people who don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Ivanka Trump’s comments followed a weekend mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that left 22 dead and 26 wounded, and another just hours later in Dayton, Ohio, where nine people were killed and 27 injured.
In Chicago, 55 people from ages 5 to 56 had been shot over the weekend, including seven fatalities, according to the Chicago Tribune’s count. Nearly all of the gun violence occurred on the West and South sides.
At least 1,600 people have been shot in Chicago this year and there have been at least 300 homicides, according to data kept by the Tribune. Both numbers are below last year.
Chicago’s gun violence has been a frequent target for conservative critics who use it to attack the Democratic Party.
Lightfoot visited Washington in May, where she met with Ivanka Trump in the West Wing. They discussed workforce development and criminal justice reform, Lightfoot said. They also took a photo together that was criticized by progressives and some Chicago residents, though Lightfoot backers said it’s important for the mayor to meet with anyone who may be able to help the city with its myriad problems.
A former federal prosecutor, Lightfoot campaigned on reducing crime and made it a top priority in her inaugural address, declaring there is “no higher calling than restoring safety and peace in our neighborhoods.” The city’s seen mixed results in reducing crime early in Lightfoot’s administration.
Police have touted lower shooting rates compared to last year but Lightfoot has repeatedly decried the city’s violence. Early on in her administration, she began convening a weekly gathering of police brass for what she first called “Accountability Mondays,” where they discuss crime-fighting strategies and assess the weekend’s results.
Those meetings have since moved to Tuesday.
Ahead of the July 4 holiday, Lightfoot was asked if she’s satisfied by the fact that crime is down year over year and said no “because there’s still so much more that we need to do.”
“We are ahead in violent crimes. We’re down in homicides, we’re down in shootings, and that’s because people are working really, really hard,” Lightfoot said. “Our Police Department absolutely is doing a yeoman’s job. There’s more work to be done.”
Ivanka Trump’s comments also follow pointed remarks Lightfoot made on Monday calling for President Trump to set “a better, clearer moral tone” as the nation’s leader and back expanded gun control.
“What he’s been doing is blowing every racist, xenophobic dog whistle and when you do that, when you blow that kind of dog whistle, animals come out,” Lightfoot said Monday, referring indirectly to Trump’s incendiary tweets and campaign speeches that have included calling Mexican immigrants “rapists.”
Trump should use “his weight in Congress to move forward on common-sense gun reform,” Lightfoot said Monday.
“If the president weighs in, if he shows these Republicans that they can actually have courage, we can get this done,” Lightfoot added. “But if he stands back and continues to do what he’s been doing and he just tweets and he demonizes and he skims the surface, it matters not.”
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