Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot claimed, on Tuesday night, that the intense criticism, leveled at her office over Chicago’s spiking gun violence, is the result of “racism and sexism” and not her lack of leadership.
“The mayor made the comment during an interview on [Chicago’s PBS affiliate, WTTW] after being asked about questions people have raised over temperament and how she reacts to criticism. The mayor has been known to be tough on staff and confrontational with critics, contributing to significant staff turnover,” the Chicago Tribune reported.
WTTW asked Lightfoot how much of the criticism she’s received over the skyrocketing crime rate has been the result of racism and sexism and she quickly answered, “about 99%.”
“Look at my predecessors. Did people say that Rich Daley held tea sessions with people that he (disagreed with)? Rahm Emanuel was a polite guy who was a uniter? No,” Lightfoot told the network. “Women and people of color are always held to a different standard. I understand that, I’ve known that my whole life.”
Lightfoot also claimed crime is down — an assertion she’s repeated several times this week, though it does not appear the statistics line up with her own assessment.
The Daily Wire’s Ben Johnson noted Wednesday that it appears crime is actually up in the city.
Lightfoot claimed that “shootings year over year are down.” In fact, shootings have surged 12% compared to the same time last year — and a whopping 59% compared to this time in 2019.
Murders, too, have increased. Chicago has had 326 murders so far in 2021, compared to 323 during the same period in 2020 and 241 in 2019, a 35% rise. The “[h]omicide rate among [b]lacks is 9 times higher than the homicide rate among non-[b]lacks,” reported the city’s Department of Public Health on June 15.
Criminal sexual assaults, such as rape, are also up 22% since last year.
Chicago is facing its highest rate of gun violence since 2016 when the city was mired in a gang war.
Lightfoot recently made eradicating systemic racism in Chicago a landmark issue of her mayoral tenure. She declared “racism” a “public health crisis,” and, to mark the mid-point of her first term as mayor, limited interviews to only female journalists and reporters of color — a plan that quickly got Lightfoot sued.
Racism, Lightfoot said in early June, is the driving force behind Chicago’s crime. The Daily Wire reported that Lightfoot “blamed ‘systemic racism’ for the hardships minority residents face in the city, pledging to use millions of dollars in grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for combatting alleged systemic racism, which she called a ‘public health crisis.'”
Chicago aldermen, who say that Lightfoot has abrogated her duty to protect Chicago residents, countered that gangs are responsible for Chicago’s crime — not racism.
“Generational gang life isn’t just something that’s encouraged. It’s almost revered in some neighborhoods,” Alderman Raymond Lopez — one of Lightfoot’s chief rivals — told the Washington Examiner. “If you really want to get to what is at the heart of a lot of this, it is gangs, and it is the borderline collapse of the family unit in many of our neighborhoods … [Lightfoot] has avoided calling out gangs in our community as a source of violence in our city.”