President Donald Trump referenced the “horrendous situation” in Chicago Thursday as he touted the formation of a new federal task force targeting the nation’s violent crime.
"There's one Chicago that's incredible, luxurious and all. And safe," Trump told reporters at the White House. "There's another Chicago that's worse than almost any of the places in the Middle East that we talk about, and that you talk about, every night on the newscasts."
Although details on Trump’s task force remain thin, the president noted that his administration aims to address crime, education and healthcare in American inner cities.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he is willing to work with the president's administration to combat Chicago’s surging violence. Emanuel traveled to Washington this week to discuss the city’s violent crime with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other members of Trump’s senior staff.
The meetings, which were held at the mayor’s request, come on the heels of a highly publicized back-and-forth between Emanuel and Trump.
After repeatedly bemoaning the dire situation in Chicago, on Twitter and at press conferences, Trump warned local authorities in January that he would “send in the Feds” if they can’t get a handle on the city’s ongoing “carnage.”
Emanuel shot back earlier this month, urging Trump to "just send them."
“Send more FBI, DEA, ATF agents,” Emanuel said. “We don’t have to talk about it anymore.”
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin also asked Sessions on Wednesday for federal assistance to help "dismantle" Chicago gangs.
Trump on Thursday reiterated his vision for bolstering the country’s borders, which includes plans for a “great wall” on the Mexican border and a crackdown on sanctuary cities, like Chicago, that “refuse to comply with federal and that harbor criminal aliens.”
However, the Republican president wouldn't give a clear answer about how his administration would handle DACA students, who came to the country as young children and applied for deferred action, a form of relief from deportation.
Earlier this month, Trump faulted undocumented Chicago gang members for much of the city’s crime.
“We’ve begun a nationwide effort to remove criminal aliens, gang members, drug dealers and others who pose a threat to public safety,” Trump said Thursday. “We are saving American lives every single day. Court system has not made it easy for us.”
During Thursday’s press conference, Trump also announced a new office within the Department of Homeland Security “dedicated to the forgotten American victims of illegal immigrant violence.”