Sen. Dick Durbin slammed President Donald Trump Friday following the president's latest tweet about Chicago violence, urging him to step away from the keyboard and provide federal resources to aid the city.
“Yet again, I urge the Pres to stop tweeting & provide critical [federal] resources for [economic] development, mentoring & jobs to address Chicago violence,” Durbin said in his own tweet.
After seven people, including a pregnant woman, were fatally shot Wednesday in Chicago, Trump tweeted “what is going on there” and insisted “Chicago needs help!”
“Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago,” Trump tweeted. “What is going on there - totally out of control. Chicago needs Help!”
As Durbin noted, this isn’t the first time he pushed Trump for additional resources for Chicago. Earlier this month, Durbin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth penned a letter to the president, insisting that “tweeting does not save lives.”
“We urge you instead to provide a surge in federal support and resources for Chicago to reduce violence and expand economic opportunities for neglected communities,” the senators wrote.
Last week, Durbin spoke on the Senate floor, urging Trump to stop tweeting and focus on federal funding to address to crisis in Chicago.
“President Trump sends out a lot of tweets,” Durbin said. “He like to tweet about Chicago, and I’m not quite sure why. Tweeting doesn’t save lives. Saying that you’re going to send in the feds, well, that may be one of those short tweets that’s catchy, but it doesn’t mean a damned thing to the people who are being shot and dying in Chicago.”
“I urge the President and his Administration to re-prioritize federal resources to reduce gun violence in Chicago and around the nation,” he added. “It’s going to save a lot more lives than tweeting.
Durbin also met in December with Trump’s nominee for attorney general, former Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was later confirmed by the Senate in February. During their meeting, Durbin and Sessions discussed Chicago's gun violence and Department of Justice funding in the city.
Durbin also supplied Sessions with a series of questions in the lead-up to his Senate nomination hearing but wasn’t satisfied with the Republican’s written responses about Chicago.
“I remain concerned about Senator Sessions’ commitment as U.S. Attorney General - if he is confirmed - to helping the City of Chicago address its severe gun violence crisis,” Durbin said in a statement. “I have pushed for answers in our personal meeting and in writing from Senator Sessions and continue to receive the same non-answer.”
“This is in complete contradiction with President Trump’s recent tweets on the issue,” Durbin added.
The Illinois senator didn’t vote to confirm Sessions in February, noting that he “did not have confidence he could serve as the independent Attorney General our nation needs.”
Trump’s latest tweet, sent Thursday evening, came almost a month after Trump threatened to “send in the Feds!” if Chicago officials can’t quell the city’s surging violence.
At the beginning of February, Mayor Rahm Emanuel told Trump to “just send them.”
“Send more FBI, DEA, ATF agents,” Emanuel said at the time. “we don’t have to talk about it anymore.”
The mayor took a trip earlier this month to Washington, D.C. to discuss Chicago’s violent crime with members of Trump’s senior staff and Attorney General Sessions. Despite the effort, Trump’s tweets have continued.
Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson called the bloodshed “unacceptable” in a statement Thursday night, noting that the city’s requests for federal help have gone unanswered.
“We have challenges with gun violence in several neighborhoods on the South and West sides of the city,” Johnson said. “It’s unacceptable to me, to the Mayor and to everyone who lives in Chicago. We’ve made out requests to the White House and the Justice Department for them to support our work - from increasing federal gun prosecution to more FBI, DEA and ATF agents to more funding for mentoring and job training and more. We are still waiting for the administration's response to our request.”