Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she believes negative tweets and comments about Democratic leaders from President Donald Trump encourage threats from extremists like those plotting to kidnap Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
On Thursday, six men were charged in federal court with conspiring to kidnap Whitmer in reaction to what they viewed as her “uncontrolled power,” according to a federal complaint. Separately, seven others were charged in state court under Michigan's anti-terrorism laws for allegedly targeting police and seeking a “civil war.”
Lightfoot said threats, like the one against Whitmer, have been made due to Trump’s rhetoric toward Democratic leaders like herself.
“When somebody's calling in the middle of the night repeatedly, that's an issue, and that has only happened since Donald Trump has been trying to attack me personally,” Lightfoot said. “And it's an issue that many of us as mayors have, and he seems to have a particular obsession with female and particularly mayors of color.“
The mayor went on to describe several instances in which “sophisticated” threats were made against her and her family and described various types of harassment she receives.
“There's not a day that goes by that I don't get some kind of harassment,” Lightfoot said during a press conference Thursday. “There is a real cause and effect when the President names me in a disparaging way, which is usually what he does, and people feeling like they have license to make what I regard as real threats.”
Whitmer also pinned some blame on President Trump, noting that he did not condemn white supremacists in last week's debate with Joe Biden and instead told a far-right group to “stand back and stand by.”
“We've all seen the same thing happen when he has focused his very large megaphone on us,” Lightfoot said. “Giving license to people who don't whether they're suffering some funk, some kind of mental disability, or thinking that they are patriots answering the call, but it's serious.”