Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn’t want to send the National Guard into Chicago, despite the city’s spiking violence, saying in a recent interview the extreme measure “would be a mistake.”
President Donald Trump once again brought national attention to the city’s violent crime Tuesday, tweeting that he would “send in the feds” if officials in Chicago can’t get a handle on the ongoing “carnage.”
Rauner said Trump hasn’t reached out to talk about the city’s violence during an appearance on The Steve Cochran Show Wednesday.
The governor said his administration has been discussing Chicago’s violent crime with federal law enforcement agencies for the past 18 months, but said he’s not ready to call the National Guard into the city.
“Our administration has been in conversations with members at the DEA and at the FBI,” Rauner told Cochran. “We continue to talk to experts around the country. We continue to believe it’s not the right thing for us to send in the National Guard. That would be a mistake.”
Rauner noted that a “surge" of Illinois State Police officers has already been sent to Chicago to patrol expressways, aid in investigations and help with forensic and lab work.
In any event, Trump technically has the authority to send the National Guard to Chicago. The most direct — and most extreme — intervention would be sending National Guard troops into Chicago to try and tamp down the violence. Both the president and the governor have the authority to mobilize the Illinois National Guard.
But a federal statute, known as the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, prohibits the deployment of federal troops in civil law enforcement. While a president could try to find legal loopholes to get around that prohibition, the legalities of any such deployment would pose major obstacles. A heavy-handed intervention could upset many conservatives who advocate for states' rights.
On Wednesday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city would accept federal aid, but scoffed at the idea of National Guard intervention.
“The National Guard has nothing to do with public safety,” Emanuel said.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that President Trump met with Emanuel previously and offered up federal resources, if asked for.
"That return call for help has not occurred," Spicer said during his daily press briefing.
He noted that if Gov. Bruce Rauner asks for it, other aid can be extended as well.
“I think what the president is upset about is turning on the television and seeing Americans killed by shootings,” Spicer said, adding that no American should feel unsafe or fear for their lives while walking down the street.
“Too often that’s happening in Chicago,” he added.