CHICAGO — President Donald Trump on Tuesday night threatened in a tweet to "send in the Feds" unless Chicago officials "fix the horrible 'carnage'" in the city.
After surging in 2016, violence in Chicago has shown no sign of slowing down in the first weeks of 2017, with 40 people killed in the first 22 days of January.
If Chicago doesn't fix the horrible "carnage" going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
During an interview on WTTW-Channel 11 that aired about an hour before Trump's tweet, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said stronger gun control laws and funds to hire more police officers would help reduce violence in Chicago.
The federal government should also fund after-school and summer jobs programs, Emanuel said.
The federal government should invest "in neighborhoods that are hard hit by poverty and become a breeding ground for violence," Emanuel said.
A spokesman for Emanuel declined to comment further, referring reporters to the WTTW interview.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department "is more than willing to work with the federal government to build on our partnerships with the [U.S. Justice Department] FBI, [Drug Enforcement Agency,] and [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] and boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago."
In response to a similar tweet from Trump on Jan. 2, Emanuel urged the then president-elect to fund programs like summer jobs and create tougher gun laws.
Just before Trump tweeted, Horace Cooper of the National Center for Public Policy Research was being interviewed by Bill O'Reilly on Fox News, and he said federal officials should be tasked with stopping the violence.
Cooper said there had been a "wholesale failure" by Emanuel and other Illinois officials to stop the "carnage," perhaps indicating why Trump put quotation marks around that word in his tweet.
The statistics used in Trump's tweet are the same as those in an on-screen graphic used by Fox.
On Monday, Emanuel urged Trump to stop debating the size of the crowd at his inauguration and focus on issues that matter.
Hours after Trump took office, the White House website was changed to include a pledge to "stand up for the law enforcement community." Chicago was singled out for censure.
“There were thousands of shootings in Chicago last year alone,” the website reads.
In August, Trump told Fox News' O'Reilly that police could end the city's violence "in one week" if they wanted to.
Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson asked Trump to share the "magic bullet" for ending crime here.
Throughout Trump's presidentila campaign, Chicago was held up as the embodiment of all that is wrong with urban America — a "war-torn country" rife with voter fraud and consumed with violence and poverty.
"It is terrible there," Trump said in the first presidential debate, and he called for the return of stop-and-frisk, which had been ruled unconstitutional.