CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave the audience at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” a little taste of Chicago on Monday, declaring his love for the Cubs, deep dish pizza, and 16-inch softball; while also defending the city’s immigration policies against President Trump’s attacks.
In his first visit to Colbert’s late night talk show on CBS, the mayor offered a new anti-Trump motto for Chicago: “A city he’ll never sleep in.”
“I think what he’s doing is wrong for the direction of the city. It’s not how I wanted the election to turn out, and so we’ve declared Chicago’s going to be a Trump-free zone. He never really likes it when I do that, though,” Emanuel said.
The mayor defended Chicago as a sanctuary city for immigrants, when Colbert asked if the city’s “welcoming city ordinance” violates federal law.
“The police department in the city of Chicago’s not supposed to be enforcing the immigration laws of the United States government. That’s what the federal government’s for,” he said. “The bigger piece of this is we’re building relationships between the police department and communities. I’m not driving a wedge. That is what Donald Trump wants is a wedge on the philosophy of community policing. It’s absolutely [antithetical] to everything we’re trying to do.”
The interview took a more light-hearted turn as Colbert borrowed a page from the mayor’s “Chicago Stories” podcast, and asked the mayor a rapid-fire series of questions about Chicago, where the late night host started his comedy career.
Emanuel affirmed his preference for the Cubs over the Sox, thick crust pizza over thin, Lake Michigan over the Chicago River, 16-inch softball over 12-inch, the Hancock Center over Willis Tower. He also made it known, if he had his druthers, Willis Tower would still be called Sears Tower.
“I’m for Sears, but I have to go by Willis,” he said.
The mayor, who has said he plans to run for a third term, also spent plenty of time playing up his support for immigrants and his opposition to the Trump administration’s policies. Emanuel said the city offers free community college to any high school student with a B average, calling it “the only public scholarship that a Dreamer can get in the United States of America.”
Emanuel also accused the Trump administration of doing nothing after U.S. Steel dumped toxic chromium into Lake Michigan in October.
“When U.S. Steel dumped in Lake Michigan, EPA in Chicago did nothing under Donald Trump, so we sued,” he said.
He also touted the city’s policies to protect the environment after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accords.
“Look, Donald Trump is driving forward looking through the rear-view mirror, and I’m not going that way,” Emanuel said, pointing back over his shoulder. “I want my city going that way, and I want it to be a Trump-free zone.”
The interview wrapped up with Colbert asking the Jewish mayor about President Trump’s decision to have the U.S. officially acknowledge Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Emanuel called that “bad policy.”
“No Democratic or Republican president would ever do this,” Emanuel said. “The fact is, for a whole host of reasons, you do not want the United States in the middle of negotiations about a two-state solution.”
“My bigger worry is that he’s now also moving the nation’s capital to Alabama, and I’m really more concerned about what he’s doing there,” he added.