CHICAGO — Donald Trump says he has found the solution to Chicago's violence problem: tougher cops.
In an interview with Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly on Monday night, the Republican nominee for president said the city's rash of shootings could be put to an end, if only police had the backing to do it.
"I know police in Chicago," Trump said. "If they had the authority, they could get it done. How? By being very much tougher than they are right now."
Trump said "a top police officer in Chicago who's not the police chief" had let him in on a secret.
"I said, 'How do you stop this? How do you stop this?'" Trump told O'Reilly. "'If you were put in charge' — to a specific person — 'Do you think you could stop it?' He said, 'Mr. Trump, I'd be able to stop it in one week.' And I believed him 100 percent."
Trump described the unnamed police official as "a rough tough guy" whom officers "respected...greatly."
The exchange begins at the 4:30 mark, when O'Reilly notes Chicago's roughly 50 percent spike in homicides from last year.
Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi shot down Trump's claim Tuesday, saying "We've discredited this claim months ago."
"No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign," the spokesman said in a prepared statement.
It wasn't the first time the Chicago Police Department has had to distance itself from Trump's comments.
In March, Trump abruptly canceled a rally at UIC Pavilion citing "safety" concerns, saying he made the decision after he "met with law enforcement."
Later that day, then-Police Supt. John Escalante said police "had no role" in the cancelation.
“In fact, I can tell you we did assure the Trump campaign that we had more than adequate resources outside the UIC Pavilion and that we guaranteed them we could provide safe access and exit for Mr. Trump,” Escalante said at the time.
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