DOWNTOWN — Before he spoke with officials at the French Consulate in Chicago Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel left a pot of flowers decorated with a Chicago flag near a memorial for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks.
"Know that you have friends here in Chicago," Emanuel said to consulate employees. "These vicious acts will not break us apart but bring us together."
Emanuel visited the French consulate Monday to pay his respects to those who died in Friday's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris. He also offered the consulate his full support, as well as announced a trip to Paris in December to partake in the United Nation's meetings on climate change.
Emanuel said the terrorist attack, which killed more than 120 people according to media reports, reverberates here because the attack was not just on Parisians, but on our shared values of freedom.
"An ocean may separate us, but those ideals bond us," Emanuel said. "We stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity."
Emanuel said there was no threat to Chicago at this time, but mentioned that he did spend the weekend speaking with the Department of Homeland Security and other officials to make sure the city was safe. He said security in Chicago was beefed up but did not want to discuss specifics.
The mayor was asked about his reaction to Gov. Bruce Rauner declining to bring in Syrian refugees following the attacks. He said such a move goes against the fabric of America, and that the state would be better served to work with federal authorities to assure that the refugees pose no threat to the country.
"Security and our values go hand-in-hand," Emanuel said. "We are an open and welcoming society."
Emanuel said there are about 6,000 Chicagoans of French descent. Emanuel focused on the tragedy in Paris, and said his participation at the upcoming climate change talks also serves as a reminder of how closely the two nations work.
The mayor met briefly in private with French Consul General Vincent Floriani and also took time to speak with other consulate employees, asking how they were and if their families were safe.
Floriani said the mayor's visit, plus the hundreds who paid their respects outside the consulate Saturday, have made a tremendous impact on the consulate.
"You see the flowers here. You see the buildings in Chicago lit up like the French flag," Floriani said. "That means a lot to us."
Floriani was asked what he would say to those in America looking to travel to France, but he declined comment.
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