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Trump’s focus on Chicago violence could be helpful, but will he stay committed to real assistance?

By Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

President Donald Trump’s decision to combat violent crime in Chicago and other cities, whether invited or not, reminds me of President Ronald Reagan’s line about the “nine most terrifying words” in the English language: “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Indeed. Initial reaction from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot came by one of the president’s favorite media, Twitter: “Under no circumstances,” she tweeted Tuesday, “will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.”

No, she was not referring to the terrorism inflicted by gunmen who shot at least 15 people in a drive-by shooting outside a funeral home on the Chicago’s South Side earlier in the day.

She was referring to Trump’s proposed cure for the violence that has surged in Chicago and some other cities this summer.

She was referring to Portland, Ore., a city rocked by daily protests since late May, after George Floyd choked to death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer.

Suddenly in mid-July paramilitary troops appeared on Portland streets, reportedly with no identification or announcement. Some of them picked up alleged protesters, who were spirited away for questioning before being released.

 

The Trump administration finally identified the uniformed personnel as federal agents. They were drawn from various federal agencies, similar to the federal agents who broke up peaceful protests in front of the White House with irritants and “nonlethal projectiles” to make way for Trump’s famous photo op with a Bible in front of a nearby church.

Trump defended his tough tactics by urging local and state officials to “dominate” violent protesters with overwhelming force “or you’ll look like a bunch of jerks.”

The result in Portland has been even larger protests and escalating military tactics, including the tear-gassing of a crowd Wednesday night that included Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

No, that doesn’t help build Trump’s image as a peacemaker, but it gave ample opportunity for his reelection campaign team to gather footage of “radical left” chaos in the streets of “Joe Biden’s America.” Never mind the irony of illustrating that message with footage from Donald Trump’s America.

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(c) 2020 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

 

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