CHICAGO — Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning about Chicago violence being "out of control" before heading into town for a big-ticket fundraiser.
But local activists don't think he really cares.
Leaders of area Muslim, Jewish, women, immigrant, LGBTQ and disability advocate groups gathered Tuesday near the Trump International Hotel & Tower, 401 N. Wabash Ave., in a show of solidarity against Trump. The press conference was headlined by Cook County Commissioner and former mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" García, a Mexican immigrant who moved to Chicago five decades ago.
"Chicago is a welcoming place, Illinois is a great state because all of us recognize we are each others' keeper, regardless of faith, regardless of national origin, regardless of where we come from in the world," García said. "We can only move forward when we respect each other."
The remarks came just before a fundraising lunch in Chicago where Trump is expected to collect more than $1 million, and after the presumptive Republican nominee for president made controversial remarks about Mexicans, Muslims, notable women including FOX News anchor Megyn Kelly, and a New York Times reporter with a disability.
Trump made sure to get the first word before his visit:
Crime is out of control, and rapidly getting worse. Look what is going on in Chicago and our inner cities. Not good!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2016
In recent days, "inner city violence" has been a talking point for the presumptive Republican nominee for president, who is trying to paint himself as the law and order candidate.
Other speakers included Rami Nashashibi of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network, a non-profit based in Chicago Lawn.
Muslim activist Rami Nashashibi says MLK came to Chicago 50 years ago to "break down walls, not build them." pic.twitter.com/dqm4Y7InhY— David Lee Matthews (@DavidLMatthews) July 12, 2016
Nashashibi said it's "hard to believe a word" Trump says about any issue, including violence in Chicago, because the political candidate is "ready to pivot" on any issue.
"The idea he genuinely cares or has any concerns about the people on the South and West sides of Chicago is laughable," Nashashibi said in an interview. "To exploit and manipulate the suffering in the city, the challenges in the city, is just kind of insult to injury."
The event was organized by the groups and the Democratic National Committee. U.S. Rep Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) sent an e-mail to constituents Monday afternoon urging them to attend the rally.
"In light of everything that's been happening, our country needs unity more than ever," Ben Head, Schakowsky's political director, said Monday afternoon. "Donald Trump is the exact opposite, he's tearing us apart."
Tuesday will mark Trump's first appearance here since a political rally at the University of Illinois at Chicago was canceled out of "safety" reasons in March. Thousands of protesters swarmed the venue and outside, prompting Trump to cancel the event then.
Other Chicagoans have since stepped up less organized forms of protest, ranging from flipping off the Trump International Hotel & Tower, 401 N. Wabash Ave., to making satirical videos, piñatas and toilets lampooning the controversial presidential candidate.
Trump, who's stepped up his campaign fundraising in recent weeks, will charge from $10,000 to $100,000 for his Tuesday fundraiser, whose location is only being disclosed to donors, according to the Sun-Times. Trump is expected to receive the Republican Party's nomination for president at the party's convention next week.
A Trump spokeswoman did not return a message seeking comment.
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