Donald Trump has threatened to send the “feds” into Chicago to suppress the “carnage” of gun violence in the American city.
The President frequently cited Chicago's violent crime and homicide rates on the campaign trail, claiming he would be able to bring them down once in the White House.
On Tuesday night, Mr Trump claimed 228 shootings and 42 killings had taken place in America's third-largest city in 2017, therefore rising by 24 per cent from 2016.
"If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible 'carnage' going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!" he wrote on Twitter.
But the Chicago Police department has disputed the figures which were cited by both the Chicago Tribune and the President, saying there have actually been just 182 shootings in the city so far this year which is “exactly flat from last year”. They also said there had been just 38 homicides this year, compared to 33 for this period in 2016.
It is not clear whether the billionaire property developer's reference to “the Feds” means the national guard, the FBI, or a number of other federally backed services. What's more, it is also unclear what kind of unilateral government intervention Mr Trump favours to tackle the issue from his tweet.
Civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson did not appear to agree with Mr Trump's warning about Chicago. “We need a plan, not a threat. We need jobs, not jails,” he said on Twitter.
It is not immediately clear what triggered Mr Trump’s latest tweet about Chicago violence but the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, did recently criticise Mr Trump for his continued fixation with the size of his inauguration crowd.
“You didn’t get elected to debate the crowd size at your inaugural,” Emanuel told reporters on Monday. “You got elected to make sure that people have a job, that the economy continues to grow, people have security as it relates to their kids’ education. It wasn’t about your crowd size. It was about their lives and their jobs.”
Earlier in January, Mr Trump suggested Chicago, President Barack Obama's hometown, would need federal assistance.
Chicago was a common theme during Mr Trump’s presidential campaign. In an interview with Bill O’Reilly in August, he said his strategy in Chicago would involve the police being “very much tougher” than they presently were. He also claimed a “top police officer” in the city had informed him he could fix many of the problems in “one week”. At the time, Chicago police denied any member of the senior team had met with him.
Mr Trump also spoke about Chicago, which is home to one of his tallest skyscrapers, during the third presidential debate in September.
“We have a situation where we have our inner cities - African Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it’s so dangerous,” he said. “You walk down the street, you get shot. In Chicago, they’ve had thousands of shootings, thousands since January 1. Thousands of shootings. And I say, where is this? Is this is a war-torn country? What are we doing?”
Mr Trump was forced to cancel a Trump campaign event in Chicago back in March due to security concerns after violent clashes erupted.
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