Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a tweet Tuesday night that she would not allow President Donald Trump to deploy troops in Chicago to “terrorize our residents.”
Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 21, 2020
Hours later, the mayor said that perpetrators of crime in the city would be “held accountable.”
“Too many guns are on our streets in the hands of people who should never possess them,” Lightfoot wrote. Later adding, “We cannot give shelter to killers.”
The flurry of tweets comes as the Chicago mayor has wrestled with the Trump administration’s potential deployment of federal agents in Chicago.
On Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Department of Homeland Security, was “crafting plans” to deploy about 150 federal agents to the city this week.
The Department of Homeland Security, in recent weeks, already deployed federal officers to quell protestors using aggressive tactics in Portland. Agents descended on the Oregon city, and ensuing images of tear-gas canisters and protesters fleeing smoke and impact munitions have surfaced online. Reports also emerged last week that unidentified agents in masks and camouflage fatigues without identifying insignia were pulling people off Portland streets and detaining them in unmarked vans.
In May, Lightfoot weighed the sincerity of Trump’s offer to help Chicago and criticized his response to the protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
“What I really want to say to Donald Trump … begins with F and it ends with U,” the Chicao Tribune reported that she said at a news conference in May.
In a four-page letter addressed to President Trump on Monday that was obtained by The New York Times, Lightfoot said if the president really wanted to help Chicago, rather than “mocking the level of violence that challenges Chicagoans” he should enact gun control legislation, do more to curb the coronavirus, partner with local law enforcement and help to bolster community programs.
In the letter, Lightfoot said that addressing crime in Chicago “requires genuine efforts to unite us and collaborate, not more conflict and division.” She added that “focus and resources” were sorely needed to tackle guns and COVID-19 — two major areas of “public health” that she says the federal government has “the unique ability to step up.”
“What we do not need, and what will certainly make our community less safe is secret, federal agents deployed to Chicago,” Lightfoot wrote. “Any other form of militarized assistance within our borders that would not be within our control or within the direct command of the Chicago Police Department would spell disaster,” she added.
Although Lightfoot, a former assistant U.S. attorney, had threatened to sue Trump over calls to send troops into Chicago, she said later on Tuesday that the city, which has a long history of gun violence, would be working with federal agents to fight crime not protesters. However, Lightfoot was clear that her administration would be on watch against abuses of power.
“Unlike what happened in Portland, what we will receive is resources that are going to plug in to the existing federal agencies that we work with on a regular basis to help manage and suppress violent crime in our city,” Lightfoot said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Last month, Trump launched an attack on Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker over Chicago’s gun violence, accusing them of putting their “own political interests” ahead of the lives of residents and insisting that “law and order” was needed.
Lightfoot responded in a statement she didn’t “need leadership lessons” from Trump, accusing the President of using victims of gun violence to try to score “cheap political points.”