President Donald Trump once again bemoaned violence in Chicago on Tuesday, asking “what’s going on” in the city during a meeting with national police union leaders.
The White House meeting was a listening session with members of the Fraternal Order of Police, including Chicago’s FOP President Dean Angelo.
“In too many of our communities, violent crime is on the rise and in too many places, our citizens have not been safe for a very, very long time,” Trump said.
“Last year in Chicago, 4,368 people were shot. Nearly 700 more have already been shot since January this year alone. I ask, what's going on in Chicago?” he continued. “What is going on there? There's no excuse for it. I'm sure you're asking the same question: What's going on in Chicago?”
Trump has repeatedly mention the city’s increase in gun violence on Twitter and in speeches since taking office – calls that have prompted officials like Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to ask for more federal law enforcement resources.
In January, Trump tweeted that he would "send in the feds" if Chicago didn’t fix the "horrible carnage going on."
Emanuel responded by urging the president to “just send them,” before meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February to present a “wish list” and discuss "what might be done to combat the shootings and murders in that city and bring back proactive community policing," according to a readout from the Department of Justice.
Johnson also met with Sessions earlier this month, requesting additional assistance to help curb the city’s violence during a meeting with several other police officials from across the country.
Angelo said his purpose in attending Tuesday’s meeting was a continuation of those discussions and that he hoped to ensure that any federal resources “gets to where it's supposed to go."
Vice President Mike Pence attending the listening session, as did Sessions, who briefly asked Angelo about Chicago before the event officially began.
“How’s the Chicago world?” Sessions inquired.
“A little crazy. A little upside down right now,” Angelo responded, adding, “We have people that are afraid they’re going to lose their job for doing their job.”
Trump opened the gathering by thanking law enforcement for their support and in turn, pledging his own. The FOP, which represents more than 330,000 members nationwide, endorsed Trump for president ahead of the election.
“As I traveled the country during the campaign, I had the great privilege to spend time with our amazing police officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe and I made a crucial pledge: We will always support, and you people know that better than anybody, you know me, the incredible men and women of law enforcement,” Trump said. “I will always have your back, 100 percent, like you've always had mine, and you showed that on November 8th.”
Other participants in the meeting included National FOP President Chuck Canterbury, as well as several other members of the leadership team and Philadelphia’s FOP President Jason McDonald, the only other local leader in attendance alongside Angelo.
“My highest duty as president is the security of our people, the security of our nation,” Trump said in closing. “As president, I will work night and day to make America safe again.”