CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot scoffed at President Donald Trump’s threat to send military forces into parts of the country that have seen protests and looting.
Cities across the United Stats have been rocked for days by looting and vandalism on the heels of — but separate from — peaceful protests over the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. During a Monday press conference, Trump threatened to deploy the military in cities and states.
But Lightfoot quickly dismissed Trump’s threats, saying the city has lawyers looking at his claims and she doesn’t think it would be legal for him to send the military to Chicago.
“That’s not gonna happen,” Lightfoot said Tuesday. “I will see him in court. It’s not gonna happen, not in my city. I’m not confident the president has the power to do that. … If he tries to do that and usurp the power of our governor and myself as a mayor, we will see him in court.”
The mayor said Trump’s comments were part of a history of him “blustering” and he was pandering to voters for the November election.
“Keep in mind, this is a man who likes to bluster. Even before I was mayor, this man indicated he was gonna ‘send in the feds,’ whatever that means,” Lightfoot said. “We are not gonna give over our city to the military so the president can play to his re-election. That’s not gonna happen.”
Earlier Monday, the president also told governors during a call the military could be used to “dominate” protesters and he wished there was an “occupying force” in some cities.
Gov. JB Pritzker, who was in on the call, told Trump he didn’t appreciate such inflammatory rhetoric and later criticized Trump’s comments.
“We live in some extraordinary and difficult moments now. … What I can say is this has something to do about leadership in the nation,” Pritzker said. “When you don’t have national leaders bringing down the temperature in situations like this, it tends to the fan the flames.
“Look at the words the president has put out on Twitter … . He talks about ‘total domination.’ I don’t want to dominate peaceful protesters [who have grievances]. To me, this is an extraordinarily unusual [time] and, having said that, we will meet the challenge. And we have the capability to meet the challenge. The people of Illinois have the capability. Again, I would ask for people to step up and call for calm and peace in our streets.”
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