CHICAGO (CBS) — President Donald Trump’s claim that a mystery police officer has a quick fix for Chicago’s violent crime problems continued to evolve Wednesday night, as the president claimed the unnamed cop told him “if they let us do our job we could stop it immediately.”
The president’s story about the cop started on the campaign trail last year, but back then Trump said it would take a week to end violent crime in Chicago.
“By being very much tougher than they are right now. They’re right now not tough.” Trump said in an August 2016 interview with Bill O’Reilly. “When I was in Chicago, I got to meet a couple of very top police. I said, ‘How do you stop this, how do you stop this? If you were put in charge… Do you think you could stop this?’ He said, ‘Mr. Trump, I’d be able to stop it in one week.’ And I believed him 100 percent.”
In July, while speaking to police officers in New York, Trump said he asked a Chicago cop “what the hell is going on?”
“He said, ‘It’s a problem; it can be straightened out.’ I said, ‘How long would it take you to straighten out this problem?’ He said, ‘If you gave me the authority, a couple of days. I really mean it.’ I said, ‘You really think so?’ He said, ‘A couple of days. We know all the bad ones. We know them all,’” Trump added.
The president said the officer was a part of the motorcycle detail, and described him as “a rough cookie and really respected guy.” The president said he asked for the officer’s card, and he sent it to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but the mayor’s office has repeatedly denied Trump contacted him.
On Wednesday, Trump’s story changed again, if only slightly, in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News.
“I said, ‘how do you stop this?’,” Trump said he asked the officer while taking a picture with police in Chicago. “‘We can stop it immediately, sir.’ I said, ‘what do you mean you can stop it immediately?’ ‘If they let us do our job, we can stop it immediately.’”
Trump claimed Chicago crime is out of control, and blamed it on “bad management.”
“They could stop [crime] if they were allowed to do their jobs,” he said. “In many cases, it’s the police are not allowed to do their job. They have to be politically correct.”
Trump and his aides repeatedly have declined to identify the officer in his story. Emanuel’s office has said the president never gave the mayor the officer’s name, and the Chicago Police Department repeatedly has said it has been unable to identify any officer who had a conversation with Trump about solving crime.
“If the President has a name for this mystery person he continues to talk about, we’re all ears,” Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said Thursday. “In the meantime, we live in the real world and if the president wants to build on the reductions in violence our hard working officers are achieving, if he wants to have an immediate effect on gun violence, he could do something to stop guns from flowing into our city from Indiana and Wisconsin.”