Chicago officials are implying President Donald Trump is not living in the “real world” when he talks about the city’s ongoing violence problems and a conversation he claims to have had with an unnamed city police officer.
The president, speaking to Fox’s Sean Hannity Wednesday, once again denounced the city’s shootings, saying the violence is “out of control.” He also repeated his long-told story about a Chicago officer who claimed to have the answer to solving the city’s violence — a story Chicago police have previously claimed they “discredited.”
“I’ll never forget I was in Chicago and a police officer there, it was a motorcycle deal to the plane and I was talking to police, I was taking a picture. I said, ‘How do you stop this?’ ‘We could stop it immediately sir,’” Trump said. “I said, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘If they’d let us do our job, we could stop it immediately.’”
The story had changed a bit from the first time the president told it as a candidate last year.
Trump had previously told former Fox host Bill O’Reilly that he met a "top" Chicago officer who said he could "stop much of this horror show that’s going on" within a single week.
Chicago police have repeatedly disputed the claim, saying they “discredited” the story before Trump became president.
"We've discredited this claim months ago," CPD spokesperson Frank Giancamilli said in a statement last year. "No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign."
Now, the city says Trump isn't living in the "real world."
“If the President has a name for this mystery person he continues to talk about, we're all ears,” Adam Collins, a spokesperson for the city’s mayor, said in a statement Thursday morning. “In the meantime, we live in the real world and if the president wants to build on the reductions in violence our hard working officers are achieving, if he wants to have an immediate effect on gun violence, he could do something to stop guns from flowing into our city from Indiana and Wisconsin.”
Chicago’s violence has been spotlighted by Trump not only on the campaign trail but throughout his presidency.
“Now Chicago is out of control, I don’t know what they’re doing in Chicago,” he told Hannity Wednesday. “This many shootings and this many killings and all of the different things that are going on.”
He attributed the killings to “bad management” and “bad politics.”
Still, police have reported a drop in the number of shootings and killings from last year and Trump has since followed through with his plan to “send in the feds” to help curb the city’s violence. Roughly 20 agents with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were sent to the city just days before a violent Fourth of July holiday weekend saw more than 100 people shot.
Shootings for the month of September declined by 15 percent and murders were down by 10 percent compared to the same month last year, according to new statistics released by Chicago police.
The city reached 500 shooting homicides about a week later than it did last year, on Sept. 29, 2016, according to data maintained by the Chicago Sun-Times. A man shot dead early Friday evening was the 500th person to be killed in city gun violence since the start of the year.
“It’s really insulting to our nation,” Trump said.