CHICAGO (CBS) — As Michigan authorities unveiled charges against 13 people accused of separate plots to kidnap Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Chicago’s mayor said she was troubled by the news and admitted to constant threats against herself and her family.
“They’ve been serious. And we spend, my detail and the police, a significant amount of time unfortunately on tracking down these threats that come in from various parts of the country,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Some of them are quite sophisticated, because they’re using landlines that are not actually the people that are involved, but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t get some kind of harassment, whether it’s just repeated calls with things left on voicemail or other things, threatening violence.”
The mayor said some threats are people just wanting to vent against her policies. But she blames President Donald Trump for the more serious threats.
“There is a real cause and effect when the President names me in a disparaging way which is usually what he does, and people feeling like they have license to make, what I regard as real threats.
“When somebody’s calling in the middle of the night repeatedly, that’s an issue. And that only happened since Donald Trump has been trying to attack me personally, and it’s an issue that many of us as mayors and he seems to have a particular obsession with female, and particularly mayors of color,” Lightfoot said.
The mayor added that she wasn’t sure if the threats would end if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is elected in November. But said the anger expressed towards her, and others, is of great concern.
“We are living in a time where we all have to think very seriously about the impact of our words. We don’t have a president who will do that. But we have a responsibility to do that here in Chicago.
“The toxicity of our public debate that is with been with us for way too long, and has really been exacerbated over these last few years. And if I’m honest, from the moment that Donald Trump came down the escalators in 2015, it started talking about in a disparaging way about members of the LatinX community and he’s never stopped. It’s only escalated the rhetoric. Some of that will go away. But the forces that he is igniting, that dog whistle that he blows almost every single day, that’s not going to disappear overnight, no matter who is elected in November.”