CHICAGO (CBS) — President Trump and Mayor Lori Lightfoot engaged in a war of words on Twitter — and caught in the middle was Chicago’s top cop.
The day after a 7-year-old was shot while trick-or-treating, Mr. Trump continued his feud with Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, saying the city “will never stop its crime wave” with Johnson in charge.
Chicago will never stop its crime wave with the current Superintendent of Police. It just won’t happen! Thank you to Kevin Graham and all of the GREAT Chicago Police Officers I just had the privilege to meet. Tremendous crime fighting potential if allowed to do your thing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2019
In reality, Chicago’s violent crime numbers are down. Murders have declined for three straight years.
Trump also praised Chicago police union boss Kevin Graham, a Trump supporter who greeted the president upon his arrival at O’Hare this week. Trump was in town for a speech and fund-raiser. Graham has also feuded with Johnson. The union board recently issued a no confidence vote against the superintendent for skipping the president’s speech.
The tweet was sent in between a bunch of others on unrelated topics, including the impeachment inquiry and jobs numbers.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot jumped to Johnson’s defense on Twitter.
Superintendent Eddie Johnson is a lifelong Chicagoan who has dedicated his career to public service.
You only serve yourself. The crime wave you should be concerned about is the one you are perpetrating against the American people from the White House. https://t.co/qQpgHpUOtk
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) November 1, 2019
On Friday, Chicago Police said murders were down 24 percent compared with last October. The number of shootings last month was the lowest for October since 2015.
Trump is also angry the Johnson skipped the president’s speech in Chicago betore the police chiefs association this week.
Trump ripped the city hosting his visit, and went after Chicago’s police superintendent in a room full of Johnson’s fellow police chiefs.
“In fact more than anyone else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something,” Trump said.
Superintendent Johnson last week said he would skip the president’s speech because he and Chicago don’t share Mr. Trump’s values.
“Eddie Johnson wants to talk about values. No. People like Johnson put criminals and illegal aliens before the citizens of Chicago, and those are his values. And frankly, his values to me are a disgrace,” Trump said.
“He’s not doing his job,” Trump said, calling Chicago an embarrassment to the nation, more dangerous than Afghanistan.
Johnson, surrounded by his command staff, responded: “facts matter and everyone in this room knows it.”
Monday afternoon at police headquarters, Johnson said those numbers don’t tell the whole story. He cited double digit drops in gun crimes over the last three years.
“Since 2016, gun violence in the city is down by almost 40%. We made double-digit reductions in robberies, burglaries and auto thefts being at 20 year lows,” noted Johnson.
On Friday, Johnson stuck to that theme when asked to respond to the president’s tweet.
“You know what? Look, I have been here for 31 years, fighting crime in this city. I don’t worry about any external stuff. The fact of it is that numbers do matter. Facts matter. The facts are, we have been bringing these numbers down over the past three years.”