President Donald Trump has attacked Chicago's police superintendent before a friendly audience of police chiefs and cited the city's "core values" and "personal values." [The officer had said he would boycott the president's speech]. Trump also used the opportunity to take a shot at disgraced actor Jussie Smollett.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said over the weekend that he had decided not to attend the president's speech. "I have to take into account, not just my personal feelings about it, but our core values as a city", he said, according to ABC Chicago station WLS. "We are nothing without trust and with some of our communities under siege, it just doesn't line up with our city's core values along with my personal values."
Responding to Johnson's comment, Trump said it was “very insulting... after all I’ve done for the police.”
Citing high crime rates in Chicago, the president argued that Johnson was "not doing his job" and that he “should be here, because maybe he should learn something.”
Trump went on to say “Afghanistan is a safe place in comparison" to Chicago, drawing laughs from police chiefs at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference and Exposition. According to organizers, at least 4,000 people attended the event.
“Five-hundred sixty-five people were murdered last year, and it’s a shame, and I want Eddie Johnson to change his values, and to change them fast”, Trump said.
Monday marked the commander-in-chief's first visit to Chicago, after having had a tumultuous relationship with the city thus far. In 2016, he attempted to hold a campaign rally there, but the event was canceled due to large protests.
However, Trump was frequently applauded at the police chiefs event as he emerged to campaign rally-style music. In fact, he drew adulation even when he was blasting the city's police superintendent.
Trump listed statistics of those murdered and shot in Chicago, and said Johnson is "not doing his job." Furthermore, he said Johnson and “stupid politicians who have no idea what the hell they’re doing.”
Trump also criticized "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett, who falsely alleged he was attacked by supporters of the president, only for investigators to later conclude it was a hoax.
“Then you have the case of this wise guy, Jessie Smollett, who beat up himself”, Trump said Monday, drawing more laughs. Emphasizing it was Smollett who had carried out a “hate crime," he called the case a "real big scam, just like the impeachment of your president is a scam.”
“Smollett is still trying to get away from it,” Trump said, as the crowd applauded.
The president subsequently signed an executive order establishing a Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice, which is designed to examine "key policing issues like substance abuse, homelessness, and mental illness", and would look at "best practices for recruiting, training, and supporting law enforcement officers", as per the White House.