President Trump called on Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to end high levels of crime and “establish law and order.”
In a letter issued Friday, Trump accused the Democrats of prioritizing their political interests over protecting the people in their state, referencing a June 8 article from the Chicago Sun-Times that describes a series of 18 murders taking place within a period of 24 hours.
The president went on to write that, should they be willing, he would direct his Cabinet to formulate a strategy to bolster law enforcement efforts to deter violent crime.
“Between 2010 and 2019, Illinois lost more of its population than any other state in the Nation. If you are interested, I am willing to ask members of my Cabinet to meet with you and help devise a plan to make Chicago safe, since a successful formula has escaped both you and your predecessors,” Trump wrote. “My Administration would also welcome the opportunity to engage with you and your colleagues as you develop bipartisan policy recommendations to improve policing and make our great cities safer.”
He added: “Unfortunately, you continue to put your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety, and fortunes of your own citizens. The people of Chicago deserve better.”
— davidshepardson (@davidshepardson) June 27, 2020
Trump alluded to his record on criminal justice reform in the letter, pointing to the First Step Act, which he signed into law in December 2018.
The White House described the legislation as instituting “commonsense reforms” that enact policies such as “rehabilitative programs, fair sentencing, and smart confinement.”
Three weeks after the death of George Floyd, a black man whose death in Minneapolis police custody inspired widespread protests, the president took executive action, surrounded by representatives of law enforcement, to enact police reform.
“We need to bring law enforcement and communities closer together, not to drive them apart.” Trump said, adding, “reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals. They are not mutually exclusive. They work together.”
The order sets guidelines for police departments to meet certain standards on the use of force, including chokeholds, if they want access to federal grants. It also creates a federal database of officers for police misconduct.
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