As Chicago Gun Violence Worsens, Intervention by Trump's Feds Is Looming

As the Trump administration continued to reject calls to pull federal authorities out of Portland, Oregon, over the weekend, officials suggested that the government could soon be deploying its officers to other cities amid widespread unrest following the killing of George Floyd.

One of the cities up for consideration appears to be Chicago, with authorities mentioning the city as a point of federal interest, particularly in the wake of a surge in gun violence that saw dozens of shootings over the weekend.

Between Friday and Sunday, at least 48 people were shot in Chicago, including eight fatalities.

In an interview with Fox News host Maria Bartiromo, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said he was working on plans for Chicago and other cities in coordination with Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and Attorney General William Barr.

"You'll see something rolled out this week as we start to go in and make sure that the communities, whether it's Chicago, or Portland, or Milwaukee, or someplace across the heartland of the country, we need to make sure our communities are safe," Meadows said on Sunday Morning Futures.

In a Sunday tweet taking aim at Democrat-led cities, Trump also suggested that the city was in need of federal assistance, along with New York and Philadelphia.

"The Radical Left Democrats, who totally control Biden, will destroy our Country as we know it," Trump said. "Unimaginably bad things would happen to America."

"Look at Portland, where the pols are just fine with 50 days of anarchy. We sent in help," he wrote. "Look at New York, Chicago, Philadelphia. NO!"

Asked about high gun crime rates in cities like Chicago and New York City in an interview with Fox News Host Chris Wallace on Sunday, the president said both cities were "stupidly run."

"I explain it very simply by saying that they're Democrat-run cities, they are liberally run. They are stupidly run," he said.

According to The Washington Post, there are no immediate plans to boost federal presence in other cities.

However, if the Trump administration was to send federal law enforcement officers to Chicago, they would be welcome by at least one city leader—the president of the city's police union.

On Sunday, union president John Catanzara published a public letter to Trump asking for federal help in controlling the "chaos" in the Windy City.

Blaming the Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for failing to bring order to the city, Catanzara called on Trump to step in.

"I am certain you are aware of the chaos currently affecting our city on a regular basis now," the letter states. "I am writing to formally ask you for help from the federal government."

Lightfoot, Catanzara said, "has proved to be a complete failure who is either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order here."

Newsweek has contacted Lightfoot's office for comment.

In a statement to NBC Chicago, a spokesperson for the mayor branded the letter a "political stunt."

"We will not dignify this or any other political stunt," the spokesperson said. "We will, however, continue to support the true hardworking men and women of the police department," they said.

If the Trump administration were to send federal law enforcement authorities into Chicago, it is likely that the government would face similar opposition to the move as it has seen in Portland.

Speaking with CNN on Sunday, however, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler warned municipal leaders across the country that federal intervention amid protests could happen in their cities too.

"Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism. And it's not helping the situation at all. They're not wanted here," Wheeler said.

"The tactics that the Trump administration are using on the streets of Portland are abhorrent," he added, with federal authorities being seen arresting protesters on the streets and forcing them into unmarked cars.

"This could happen in your city and what we're seeing is a blatant abuse of police tactics by the federal government, by a Trump administration that's falling in the polls and this is a direct threat to our democracy," he said.

Chicago gun crime scene
Crime scene tape is stretched around the front of a home where a man was shot on May 28, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago saw a surge in gun violence over the weekend of July 17, 2020. Scott Olson/Getty