Skip to contents
South Loop

Trump Says ‘Afghanistan Is A Safer Place’ Than Chicago And Rips Top Cop For Not Coming To His Speech

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said, "The national narrative that Chicago is a city on fire is simply not true."

  • Credibility:

CHICAGO — President Donald Trump, speaking to police chiefs in Chicago, said “Afghanistan is a safer place by comparison” and ripped Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson for not attending his speech.

Johnson later defended both his decision to skip the speech and his department.

“This administration has hurt many communities in Chicago, but CPD is here and will always be here to stand up for them,” Johnson said. “We’re sworn to protect and safeguard everyone in Chicago, no matter where you come from, who you love or what God you worship.”

The city’s top cop, who chuckled when asked, also made clear he does not believe an anonymous “mystery cop” the president has repeatedly referenced over the years is real.

“That person does not exist,” Johnson said about Trump’s insistence, made again Monday, that a Chicago police officer once told him crime could be stopped in a week if he was in charge.

“If there’s somebody who can stop crime in a day, then I will bow down to them and say ‘Bring it on.’ But that’s just not going to happen. 

The superintendent announced last week he would not come to the president’s speech at McCormick Place, saying “I can’t in good conscience stand by while racial insults and hatred are cast from the Oval Office, or Chicago is held hostage because of our views on New Americans.”

Trump Monday morning said it was an “insulting statement for all I’ve done for the police. …

“More than anybody else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something,” Trump said.

Trump was speaking at the convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police. He’s later attended a fundraiser at Trump Tower, where a crowd of protesters assembled.

Johnson has spoken out against the Trump administration’s immigration policies, and said Chicago residents and immigrants need to be able to trust the police.

On Saturday, Johnson said of skipping Trump’s speech, “It just doesn’t line up with our city’s core values, along with my personal values.”

During his speech, Trump criticized the violence in Chicago and said of Johnson “he’s not doing his job.”

“Afghanistan is a safer place by comparison, it’s true,” he said.

“But remember, 565 were murdered last year [in Chicago], and it’s a shame,” the president said. “And I want Eddie Johnson to change his values, and change them fast.”

It’s not clear what measure Trump is using to declare Afghanistan is “safer” than Chicago. In 2018, 3,804 civilians were killed in Afghanistan, according to a U.N. report.

While Afghanistan has experienced more fatal shootings than Chicago, the country per capita is safer than America, with 3.96 violent gun deaths per 100,000 people year compared to 4.43 in the U.S., according to 2017 violent crime statistics.

After the president’s remarks, Johnson held a press conference to defend Chicago police officers and the city.

“The national narrative that Chicago is a city on fire is simply not true,” Johnson said.

“What we should continue to focus on is that Chicago has made progress in the last few years,” Johnson said. “If anyone is out there that wants to help, then spend a little time here seeing what’s going on. … If he’s truly ready to roll up his sleeves [to work] with us, so are we.”

Johnson said Chicago’s crime reduction in the past three years has helped drive down national numbers.

The superintendent also noted that he’s apparently gotten under the president’s skin.

“For those comments to be made, it let me know there must be some irritation somewhere in that the progress we made as a city has gone unnoticed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized Trump on Twitter, saying “Our city and our police department will not be lectured on our duty to ‘serve and protect’ by someone who puts children in cages.”

Credit: Bob Chiarito/Block Club Chicago