CHICAGO -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday vaguely referenced an upcoming announcement on how his administration intends to deal with crime in Democrat-led cities, again citing Chicago's violence as a problem he will tackle.
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" in cities where leaders have lost control but did not offer specifics.
When a reporter asked at the end of the event whether he planned to follow through on a recent statement that the federal government might take over cities such as Chicago to deal with crime, Trump didn't answer directly.
But he cited recent issues with protesters in Seattle, Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, before pointing to violence in Chicago.
"We have other cities that are out of control, they're like war zones," Trump said. "And if the city isn't going to straighten it out, if local politicians or in this case, let's say this for political reasons, they're all Democrats. They're liberal left-wing Democrats. And it's almost like they think this is going to be this way forever."
"Where in Chicago, 68 people were shot and 18 died last week. We're not going to put up with that," he said.
After Trump on Monday again likened Chicago to Afghanistan, Mayor Lori Lightfoot sounded a familiar response during a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC, accusing the president of political posturing. Lightfoot said Trump won't take steps needed to deal with the proliferation of illegal guns that would really help drive down Chicago violence.
"If you go back over many years, President Trump has said a lot of disparaging things about the city of Chicago. He likes to use us as a political punching bag," Lightfoot said. "But if the president was really committed to helping us deal with our violence, he would do some easy things. What he would push for is universal background checks, he would push for an assault weapons ban, he would push to make sure that people who are banned from getting on airplanes can't get guns."
At an unrelated news conference, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Trump's declaration was "a sign of desperation" to somehow improve his standing. Instead, the president could help secure federal funding for violence prevention programs and mental health initiatives, Pritzker said.
The governor also said Trump has acted irrationally, citing the federal government's decision to call in the military to disperse peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square across from the White House in the aftermath of George Floyd's death while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
"I fear that the president is really thinking about other things and not thinking about what really would help," Pritzker said.
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