Lightfoot is 'derelict' in protecting Chicago's citizens, White House press secretary says

(Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that more people are dying in Chicago “than in Iraq and Afghanistan” and the “derelict Democrat mayor” is “doing nothing to stop this.”

McEnany made the comments one day after Chicago’s top cop said his officers were ambushed during violent clashes between protestors and police last week near a statue of Christopher Columbus as objects, including frozen water bottles, rocks and explosives, were hurled at officers during heated confrontations between the groups.

Police Superintendent David Brown said 49 police officers were injured, including one with a broken eye socket and another who had a broken kneecap. Twelve people were arrested for mob action, damage to property and attacking police officers.


McEnany said on Tuesday that President Trump is “very upset with what he's seen” and has written “a letter to the mayor about this.”

Another turbulent weekend in Chicago has left at least 10 people dead from gun violence and 60 injured – including at least 10 minors, police said.

“You have children who have been shot,” McEnany said. “People who have died, roughly a dozen people, every single weekend, more people are dying in the city than in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is incredible.”

“This is on a street in America run by a derelict Democrat mayor who is doing nothing to stop this so the president is very upset with this,” she continued.

Police investigate the scene where five people were shot July 19, 2020 in Morgan Park. | Carly Behm/Sun-Times

McEnany said that she’ll “leave it” to the president as to when the decision is made to send federal officers to Chicago.

Several big-city mayors that have seen upticks in violent crime and escalating clashes between police and protesters are demanding federal agents be withdrawn from their cities -- and any plans for more federal deployments be halted.

In two separate letters -- one addressed to Attorney General Bill Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and the other to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, both Democrats, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican -- the mayors expressed objection to the presence of federal agents conducting law enforcement activities in their cities without coordinating with local authorities.

Both letters are signed by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot; Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms; Washington D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser; Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas.

The Trump administration has come under heavy criticism from Democrats and activists over the actions of federal agents during ongoing demonstrations -- some of which have turned violent -- against police brutality and racial injustice.

Earlier this month, Barr announced the launch of Operation Legend in an effort to combat violent crime, slated to begin in Kansas City. The name was taken from LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy who was fatally shot last month while sleeping in his apartment.

McEnany said on Tuesday that “what you've seen there is you've had a responsible governor saying, ‘Yes, I need federal assistance. I welcome federal assistance. I want to protect the people in my state’ and we work cooperatively, DOJ has.”

She contrasted the situation in Kansas City with Portland where “we’ve seen opposition from the Democrat mayor, from the Democrat governor.”

“But DHS does have the authority under 40 U.S. Code § 1315 to do this and protect federal property and that's what they’ve done against a lot of lawlessness and anarchy,” McEnany said.


Justice Department officials told local media Operation Legend was being expanded to Chicago, which has seen a rise in gun violence over the past several years.

Lightfoot urged Trump to focus on gun control to combat gun violence.

"If the president is truly sincere about wanting to help, there are a number of things that the federal government is uniquely qualified to do that we could use his help with. And they all revolve around the fact that we have way too many illegal guns on our streets," she said.

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