President Donald Trump compared Chicago’s violence to that of a war-torn country in the Middle East during a meeting Thursday with a group of county sheriffs at the White House.
During the meeting, Trump claimed the country’s murder rate is the highest it’s been in nearly 50 years, pointing to the ongoing crisis in Chicago.
“If you ran Chicago, you would solve that nightmare,” Trump told the sheriffs.
“Literally hundreds of shootings a month,” Trump added. “It’s worse than some of the places that we read about in the Middle East where you have wars going on. It’s so sad. Chicago’s become so sad.”
According to the most recent FBI crime statistics, there were 4.9 murders per 100,000 people nationwide in 2015. That’s a slight increase from 2014, when the country's murder rate was 4.5 percent, a 51-year low. The nation's murder rate has fallen considerably after last spiking in the mid-90s.
Trump has repeatedly bemoaned Chicago’s violent crime, warning Chicago officials last month that he would “send in the Feds” if they can’t get a grip on the ongoing “carnage.”
Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel used Trump to “just send them.”
“Send more FBI, DEA, ATF agents,” the mayor said during a press conference. “We don’t have to talk about it anymore. Just send them.”
Emanuel's office continued to push for a federal partnership Tuesday.
"Instead of focusing so much energy on rhetoric about Chicago, the people of this city would be better off if the president would finally partner with us to improve public safety for Chicago," Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement.
So far this year, Chicago has seen 61 homicides and 359 shooting victims, according to the Chicago Tribune. On Tuesday, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson echoed the mayor's office, pushing for more federal agents and resources.
"We are asking for a higher rate of federal gun prosecution," Johnson said in a statement. "We are asking for more funding for after-school and summer jobs programs that are proven to keep kids out of trouble."
During Tuesday's meeting at the White House, Trump told the group of law enforcement officials that “there’s a new sheriff in town” as he continued to push his divisive agenda to a largely receptive audience. The Republican once again touted his controversial proposal for a Mexican border wall and bemoaned his stymied executive travel ban.