Trump to deploy federal agents in Chicago as mayor warns him not to send the 'troops'

President spars with local officials before he reportedly plans to send law enforcement to major cities facing protests across the country

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 21 July 2020 21:28 BST
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Donald Trump was reportedly planning on sending 150 federal law enforcement officers to Chicago, despite criticism over his threats to send agents nationwide to quell demonstrations after unidentified officials were seen detaining activists in Portland.

The president celebrated how federal agents did a “fantastic job” responding to protests in Oregon when speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, insisting he would order more agents to cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, New York City, Baltimore and Oakland. The agents were comprised by US Marshals Services, Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Mr Trump signed an executive order allowing his administration to send the federal agents to cities nationwide, as part of an effort to crackdown on the toppling of monuments and statues on federal grounds.

“We’re sending law enforcement,” he said. “We can’t let this happen to the cities.”

The Chicago Tribune later reported that 150 agents associated with HSI and other federal units would be sent to assist the Chicago police department amid a spike in citywide violence. Local officials have decried the orders, including Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who said in a statement: “We don't need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully.”

She instead called on the federal government to increase funding for prosecutors and provide more resources to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The mayor later joined MSNBC's The ReidOut with host Joy Reid and pledged to prevent Mr Trump’s “tyranny” from taking over her city.

The Chicago Police Department also released a statement on Monday saying it “does not maintain any authority over the federal government’s deployment of federal law enforcement agents” throughout the city.

“We regularly work alongside our local and federal law enforcement agency partners toward the common goal of keeping Chicago residents safe,” the statement continued. “If federal agents are deployed, it is critical that they coordinate with the Chicago Police Department and work alongside us to fight violent crime in Chicago.”

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr Trump, attempting to establish himself as the “law and order” candidate against former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, slammed cities run by “liberal Democrats” this week.

“I’m going to do something that I can tell you, because we’re not going to leave New York and Chicago and Philadelphia, Detroit and Baltimore, and all of these,” he said. “In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time, no problem.”

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