Calling the letter a “political stunt,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office released a statement responding to a message penned by Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara.
The letter, addressed from Catanzara to President Donald Trump, asked for federal help in addressing violence in the city of Chicago, and included pointed critiques of Lightfoot’s administration.
In a short statement issued Sunday, Lightfoot’s office dismissed the letter as a political stunt, and said that its focus remains on working with officers in the department on finding solutions to the issues facing the city.
“We will not dignify this or any other political stunt,” a spokesperson for the mayor said. “We will, however, continue to support the true hardworking men and women of the police department.”
Catanzara, a vocal supporter of Trump and an equally vocal critic of Lightfoot, blasted the mayor as a “complete failure,” who is “unwilling” to do what it takes to maintain order in the city.
“Mayor Lightfoot has proved to be a complete failure who is either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order here,” Catanzara’s letter read. “I would be willing to sit down anytime and discuss ideas about how we can bring civility back to the streets of Chicago. These politicians are failing the good men and women of this city and the police department.”
Trump has not responded directly to the letter, but has been a frequent critic of the leadership in cities like Chicago. He has repeatedly threatened to send in federal assets to help combat violence, with Lightfoot rebuffing those statements.
Trump also penned a letter to Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in June, criticizing them for a “lack of leadership” in addressing violence.
“Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect,” he said. “I am concerned it is another example of your lack of commitment to the vulnerable citizens who are the victims of this violence and a lack of respect for the men and women in law enforcement.”
Lightfoot blasted the letter as a “litany of nonsense,” calling for the president to push for meaningful actions to address violence, including gun reform legislation.