Donald Trump was in town the other day, marking his first stop in the nation’s third largest city since his inauguration as president almost three years ago.
He wasted no time loosing a full barrage of non-stop insults, scorn, put-downs, ad hominems, and borderline profanity against every political, economic, cultural and social aspect of the City of Chicago.
Still, even though this is perhaps the most Democratic of Democratic Party-run towns, Trump was securely cocooned within an artificial, conservative, Republican comfort zone. Indeed, he held forth as the honored guest of the uber-conservative Conference of International Association of Chiefs of Police.
He told the assembled cops, who hailed from every corner of the country, and most precincts in-between, that Chicago’s reputation as an unrepentant haven for criminals was well deserved, and that the city is just plain “embarrassing to us as a nation.” (He did not spell out exactly who “us” is, though, but we can make an educated guess, right)?
Chicago’s own Superintendent of Police boycotted Trump’s speech and entire visit in protest against Trump’s draconian immigration policies and unremitting, divisive rhetoric. Trump had obviously been well briefed on the Superintendent’s opposition to him and his policies.
“There is one person who is not here today,” Trump told the police chiefs. “Where is he? I want to talk to him. In fact, more than anyone else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something, and that’s the Superintendent of the Chicago Police, Eddie Johnson.”
The Chicago police union, the infamous, and for all practical purposes, white-centric Fraternal Order of Police, not only attended Trump’s speech, but its leader actually met Trump at the airport. Neither Chicago’s freshman mayor, Lori Lightfoot, Illinois’ rookie governor, J.B. Pritzker, nor Johnson himself deigned to do so. Days before the Superintendent’s no-show, the FOP said in a Facebook post that, “such a gesture would be an insult to both President Trump and the office of the presidency itself and would be a mark of disgrace upon the city throughout the entire nation, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot.”
Wrong. Mayor Lightfoot was anything but disgraced in her refusal to meet with the man who treats her city as the poster child for crime and violence. In fact, she supported both Superintendent Johnson and Governor Pritzker’s non-appearance.
As for Governor Pritzker, he explained his position thusly: “This is the land of Lincoln. And when you come to the state of Illinois you should respect all the people who live here.”
Mayor Lightfoot went even further in her rebuke of Trump. Writing on Twitter, she said that,
“It’s no surprise that @realDonaldTrump brought his insulting, ignorant buffoonery to Chicago. Luckily, in this city, we know the truth and we will not let anyone — no matter how high the office — denigrate who we are as a people or our status as a welcoming city.”
She wasn’t done yet:
“Rather than belittle Chicago’s communities with hateful and dishonest rhetoric, he needs to go back to D.C. and face his fate,” Lightfoot said, making a not-at-all-veiled reference to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry now set to shift into high gear by conducting public hearings against this president.
As noted, Trump frequently condemns Chicago for its crime problems. And its status as a “sanctuary city” also gets under his very thin skin in a special way. Sanctuary cities are those that refuse to cooperate with the feds in rounding up and deporting people who are living in the US illegally.
Thus, Trump claimed that Johnson cared more for “illegal aliens” than he did for Chicago’s law-abiding citizens.
“Those are his values and frankly those values to me are a disgrace,” Trump said. “I want Eddie Johnson to change his values and to change them fast.”
At a presser following Trump’s visit, Johnson responded to Trump’s broadsides, saying that Trump had ignored a “double digit” reduction in violent crime in the city over the entire period Trump has been in office.
Still, during his speech, Trump even tried to link Chicago’s crime problems to his impeachment troubles. Amazingly, he said that “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, who has been accused of making a false claim about being attacked by Trump supporters in Chicago earlier this year, was an example of Chicago’s out of control crime situation.
So sayeth Donald Trump:
“You have the case of this wise guy Jessie Smollett … and he said MAGA country did it.” (“Make America Great Again”). “It’s a real big scam, just like the impeachment of your president is a scam.”
As for the Chicago beat cops themselves, or at least their damn-near all-white union, they had cast a vote of no confidence in Johnson even before Trump’s arrival in the city.
While at the conference, Trump made a big production of signing an executive order creating a presidential commission on law enforcement in order to study substance abuse, homelessness and mental illness — among police officers. He offered nothing whatever, though, for the citizens of the city.
- No actual jobs or job training programs.
- No help with education issues, even as the city’s school teachers were walking picket lines at the very moment he spoke to the chiefs.
- No “infrastructure” money.
- No plans (and certainly no money) to finally desegregate this city.
- No plans or programs to eliminate the gaping wealth gap between the South and West Sides of town where nearly one million black and brown people live versus the rich and bustling North and Northwest Sides where the bulk of Chicago’s white citizens live.
- No nothing.
But! Trump did promise the cops that the Justice Department will begin a “surge” to crack down on gangs, drug traffickers, and violent crime, especially in “high-crime” (read: black and brown) neighborhoods. His chief enabler, Attorney General William Barr, was on hand as he made these pronouncements.
After being feted by the cops, Trump dashed over to his eponymous 92-story downtown hotel for a campaign luncheon and fund raiser. Seats at this table went for as much as $100,000. Not surprisingly, Trump raked in a cool $4 million for his reelection effort and the Republican National Committee, according to the GOP.
At the same time, upwards of six thousand anti-Trump protesters rallied outside Trump’s hotel. “Impeach Trump Now” and “Quid Pro Quo Trump Must Go” signs and placards were prominent. And, echoing fans at MLB’s World Series 5th game the previous night, vigorous and sustained chants of “LOCK HIM UP!” and “TRUMP MUST GO!” resonated throughout Chicago’s famed “Loop.”
At one point in his speech, Trump unfavorably compared Chicago to Afghanistan.
Actually, such rhetoric is not surprising, coming from this man for there are several dynamics at work here.
Trump’s hatred of Chicago is of a piece. Recall that it was just last month that he loudly and repeatedly denigrated Baltimore City, at one point calling it “a disgusting rat and rodent infested mess.”
And, almost within the same breath, he disparaged its now late, long-time Congressman, Elijah Cummings. Cummings was Chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee at his death, and was busy guiding important pieces of the impeachment process through the House of Representatives.
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Earlier this summer, Trump said that, “I think that Representative Cummings should take his oversight committee and start doing oversight on Baltimore. He’d find out some real things.”
Trump’s hatred of Chicago is visceral. It is based in his obvious and open white supremacist/white racist id which will not allow him to “get over” his also obvious and open hatred, jealousy and envy of his presidential predecessor, Barack Obama.
Ever since Obama publicly ridiculed and humiliated Trump at that Correspondent’s Dinner in 2016, like a rejected lover, Trump has been an emotional wreck, unable to quit Obama:
And, of course, because Chicago is Obama’s “home town,” this city occupies an especially dark and ugly space in Trump’s psyche.
Indeed, one does not need a political science degree to discern that just about everything this man does or says is in direct opposition and purposeful contrast to everything and anything that Obama did (or tried to do) as president.
Then there is the fact that Trump’s constant denigration of not just Chicago, but (as in the Baltimore City case) many large cities (read: “urban,” read: “black” spaces) are filled with Democrats, often black Democrats.
Trump’s insults and taunts against Chicago (and by extension all “Democrat” cities) are meant and sent as messages — no longer “coded — to his vaunted, always aggrieved, always put-upon, and oh so fragile white racist/white supremacist “base.”
The great bulk of these people (together with their parents and grandparents) beginning immediately after World War II, fled the big cities (and “Negroes”) when federal government largess showered low interest home loans and the initially whites’-only G.I. Bill benefits upon them. They promptly built the suburbs, and set up exclusive whites-only islands populated by lily white urban expats. In most cases, jobs and businesses and insurance companies and banks followed their white clientèle, leaving the cities hollowed out and “racially” ghettoized.
To put it directly: The ever-present, always impoverished, black ghetto found in each and every city with a measurable black populace is a conscious, deliberate, and sustained white creation.
By constantly lying about Chicago and the “inner cities,” Trump keeps his “base” charged up and ready to not merely accept and internalize any- and everything he says or does, but a very great many of these folk are prepared to “enforce” and defend to the death all manner of Trumpian malfeasance up to and including outright civil war and/or violent revolution. I recently explored the possibility, the reality of physical violence on the part of die-hard Trump supporters here:
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