Acting Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli said Thursday night that Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has had a major change of heart about working with President Donald Trump to reduce the violence in Chicago.
“The mayor who was saying, ‘Oh, no Trump, no federal officials, no,’ has turned 180 degrees. And you know why? Because we’re doing it cooperatively as President Trump has always offered to do,” Cuccinelli told Fox News host Shannon Bream, noting that Trump’s only goal is to reduce violence causing injuries and deaths in the cities and make communities safer.
Trump announced last week that he would be sending federal law enforcement to Chicago because of high levels of violence, especially gun violence, that has increased 51% since the same time last year (and was already high then).
More than 100 federal agents from DOJ’s FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were approved by U.S. Attorney General William Barr for deployment to the streets of Chicago under an expansion of Operation Legend, named after a four-year-old boy by that name who was killed on the streets.
Lightfoot changes her tune
Earlier last week, Lightfoot complained about Trump sending the troops into Chicago, arguing he was specifically targeting cities with female mayors.
After a phone call with Trump midweek, however, she reversed her position and supported Trump’s plans, the Washington Examiner reported.
Cuccinelli pointed out that Trump’s tough talk was aimed at those causing trouble in the cities, not at mayors like Lightfoot.
“He is tough, but he cares about the American people, and he cares about every community in this country. And that’s why he’s advancing federal officers and looking for partners, whether they’re his political allies or not,” Cuccinelli said.
Lightfoot not a Trump ally
“Mayor Lightfoot in Chicago is surely not a Trump political ally, but he is willing to extend the olive branch and the support of federal resources to help them bring peace there,” Cuccinelli said.
The protests that started after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis were a catalyst for Trump’s idea of sending federal law enforcement to help some cities get the resulting violence under control.
As the protests continued in some cities, the level of violent crime has increased and police have struggled to quell it and keep people safe.
Trump first sent federal law enforcement to Portland, Oregon, in July, drawing outrage from the mayor of the city. But he has insisted that the feds have a right to be there to protect federal property under threat and to assist police, and a judge upheld Trump’s action in court as well.