Violence in Chicago was again a talking point Tuesday as President Donald Trump met with Fraternal Order of Police leadership.
Hosting several members of the police union in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Trump reiterated his commitment to law enforcement.
“I will always have your back, 100 percent, like you’ve always had mine, and you showed that on November 8th,” Trump said. “Sadly, our police are often prevented from doing their jobs. When policing is reduced, the main victims are the most vulnerable citizens of our society, and you see that all over.”
Chicago FOP Lodge 7 President Dean Angelo was one of several members at the table Tuesday, and Trump didn’t shy away from the Windy City’s violence problem.
“Last year, in Chicago, 4,368 people were shot. Nearly 700 more have already been shot since January of this year alone,” Trump said. “I ask, what’s going on in Chicago, right? What is going on there? There’s no excuse for it.”
“All of our citizens have the right to live in safety and peace,” he added. “We will work every day to remove the gang members, drug dealers, and violent criminals from your communities — and we already are.”
In addition to gun violence, union leaders talked with Trump about the opioid crisis and sanctuary cities, according to the Chicago Tribune. The police union agrees with Trump’s initiative to end the sanctuary status in their cities, something Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been cracking down on. On Monday, Sessions pledged to withhold Department of Justice grants from jurisdictions that refuse to assist federal immigration officials.
While Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sticks to his guns on sanctuary status for Chicago, the FOP’s national president said Tuesday he’s confident the administration won’t withhold funds to help law enforcement efforts in Chicago.
“Those programs that are necessary to help reduce crime in Chicago, we feel certain the administration is going to work with us to help reduce, especially gun violence, in the city of Chicago,” said FOP president Chuck Canterbury.
The Fraternal Order of Police boasts some 330,000 members, and more than 8,200 of them are in Chicago.