Chicago Mayor Lightfoot says 99% of criticism she gets is because she's a Black woman

A South Side alderwoman on Wednesday rejected Mayor Lori Lightfoot's claim that 99 percent of her critics are motivated by racism or sexism.

Mayor Lightfoot said she is being judged in ways her two previous white, male predecessors were not.


On WTTW's Chicago Tonight, the mayor said virtually all of the criticism she receives is because she is a Black woman.

"About 99 percent of it, Lightfoot said. "Look at my predecessors. Did people say that Rich Daley held tea sessions with people that he didn't disagree on? Rahm Emanuel was a polite guy who was a uniter? No. Women and people of color are always held to a different standard."

Chicago’s 20th Ward Alderwoman Jeanette Taylor, who has had public disagreements with Lightfoot, called the mayor's claim a "copout."

"The same way that I challenged her, I've challenged Rahm and I've challenged Daley. And I was a community organizer then. That's not true. That's the copout. At the end of the day, it's her responsibility and duty as our co-worker to pull us together and have us figure out plans that work for our community," the alderwoman said.

Taylor's one of nearly 20 aldermen seeking to convene the Chicago City Council this Friday to discuss police deployments and plans ahead of what some fear could be a bloodbath this 4th of July weekend. The mayor, though, says Police Supt. David Brown has previously provided briefings.

Lightfoot’s allies are arguing that instead of gathering at City Hall on Friday, elected officials and police brass should work to reduce violence this weekend. Critics note Lightfoot has failed to deliver on her often-repeated campaign promises to do precisely that.

With nearly 2,000 people shot so far, 2021 is Chicago’s deadliest year in more than a decade.

Alderwoman Taylor, a Black woman who had a public argument with the mayor at City Hall last week, said Lightfoot should deal respectfully with council critics, not smear them.

"It doesn't seem to be any compromise with her," Taylor said. "It's her way or the highway. And that's not going to work for the citizens of the city."

Taylor suggested Lightfoot should learn a lesson after forcing last week’s face-to-face confrontation and apologize.

"The thought that she would walk from her seat to meet me at the gallery, stick her finger in my face and scream at me– that’s not becoming of an elected official. That’s not– I would never in a million years treat her that way," Taylor said.

To convene a special meeting this Friday, a majority of the 50 council members must appear. Taylor claimed that many have tentatively agreed to do so. The mayor and her allies are trying to persuade members to stay away.