CHICAGO - President Donald Trump and Mayor Lori Lightfoot spoke by telephone Wednesday night regarding the 300 federal agents he is re-assigning to stem Chicago’s shocking spike in violence.
But Trump and Lightfoot remain at odds about longterm solutions to the city's chronic crisis of killings.
With violence surging in big cities across the country, the president is making it a centerpiece of his re-election campaign.
“For those people in Chicago and other cities where we'll be, help is on the way,” Trump said Wednesday.
“If he cared about Chicago, there are meaningful ways the president could help. Instead, it's denigrate, divide and disparage,” Lightfoot said later in the day.
Behind the campaign-season rhetoric, though, is a real law enforcement operation. A source tells FOX 32 News that 150 Homeland Security agents already in Chicago will be re-assigned from their current jobs to investigate killings and shootings.
Another 150 federal agents will soon arrive from other parts of the country: ATF agents to target illegal gun trafficking from Indiana, Wisconsin and other states; U.S. Marshals to arrest fugitives wanted on existing warrants; DEA agents aiming at violent drug gangs; and FBI agents working all that and more.
The acting Secretary of Homeland Security said his agents in Chicago will not look like those in Oregon.
“The DHS mission in Portland is to protect federal property. In Chicago, the mission is to protect people from violent crime on the streets,” said Chad Wolf.
At the same news conference, Attorney General Bill Barr referenced a previously awarded grant of $9 million to Chicago to hire 75 new police officers. Mayor Lightfoot noted that Barr hopes a court will make that contingent on Chicago cooperating with enforcement of immigration laws.
“We will never, ever retreat from our status as a welcoming sanctuary city,” Lightfoot said.
The new federal agents coming from out of town are expected to start arriving in the next few days.