President-elect Donald Trump said Monday that if Mayor Rahm Emanuel can’t turn the tide on Chicago’s soaring murder rate, Washington may need to step in.
Trump, who frequently cited Chicago’s violence during the presidential campaign, tweeted about The Windy City a day after the Chicago Police Department released year-end crime stats showing homicide numbers that dwarfed those of New York and Los Angeles combined.
“Chicago murder rate is record setting – 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!” Trump tweeted.
Most of the Chicago statistics were grim, showing the nation’s third-largest city recorded 1,100 more shooting incidents than in 2015 and had homicides spike by 278 – the largest increase in 60 years.
Trump and Emanuel broached the topic of Chicago’s surging violence during a Dec. 7 sit-down. While Emanuel later told reporters most of the meeting focused on immigration, infrastructure and education, he also acknowledged the two had “talked about public safety.”
A spokesman for Emanuel released a statement Sunday, obtained by The Chicago Tribune, that alluded to the December meeting, but did not directly address Trump’s call for possible federal intervention.
“As the president-elect knows from his conversation with the mayor, we agree the federal government has a strong role to play in public safety by funding summer jobs and prevention programming for at-risk youth, by holding the criminals who break our gun laws accountable for their crimes, by passing meaningful gun laws, and by building on the partnerships our police have with federal law enforcement,” the statement from Adam Collins said. “We are heartened he is taking this issue seriously and look forward to working with the new administration on these important efforts.”
Sunday’s tweet wasn’t the first time Trump has taken a public swipe at Emanuel’s handling of the violence epidemic. During an August interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor”, Trump said Chicago’s crime problem couldn’t be solved “because they don’t have the right people in charge.”
“When I was in Chicago, I got to meet a couple of very tough police,” Trump said. “I said, ‘How do you stop this? How do you stop this? If you were put in charge to a specific person, do you think you could stop this?’ He said, ‘Mr. Trump I would be able to stop it in one week,’ and I believed him 100 percent.”
On the campaign trail, Trump also backed the use of the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, saying “Chicago needs” it.
“But they asked me about Chicago and I think stop-and-frisk with good strong, you know, good strong law and order,” Trump said during a September event. “But you have to do something. It can’t continue the way it’s going.”