President Donald Trump will be sending 150 federal law enforcement agents to Chicago this week through the Department of Homeland Security to assist in maintaining order in the city, over the objections of local Democrats.
The Chicago Tribune reported the forthcoming deployment on Monday, though it added that the mission of the law enforcement agents was unclear. The city has suffered riots and a dramatic increase in murders in recent weeks.
Violent crime, particularly in the African American community, has been a glaring problem in Chicago for more than a decade. Local black community leaders begged President Barack Obama to do something about it, to little avail.
In 2013, President Obama traveled to his old neighborhood of Hyde Park to deliver a speech on gun violence, suggesting that the problem of violent crime was connected to the problem of mass shootings, and the solution was gun control.
Yet critics say that the violence has persisted in Chicago despite strict local gun control. And after the Black Lives Matter movement emerged in 2014, Chicago police pulled back from patrolling in black neighborhoods, making matters worse.
Three days after taking office in 2017, President Trump stirred controversy when he tweeted: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”
If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
Today, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, murders have risen 34% year-on-year in Chicago, even though overall crime has dropped.
Attacks on public monuments have continued, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot has struggled to protect the city. Lightfoot is one of several Democratic mayors to sign a letter Monday opposing federal law enforcement intervention in their cities.
The head of a local Fraternal Order of Police lodge wrote to the president on Sunday appealing for help in the city. A local alderman said Monday his colleagues were fearful of asking Trump for help because they did not want him to look good.
A Gallup poll in 2019 found that while 60% of low-income Chicagoans did not trust the police, 68% wanted to see more local policing. That was higher than the nationwide average of 54% of low-income Americans who wanted more police.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
This post has been updated to include the penultimate paragraph.