President Donald Trump addressed the full assembly of the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Monday in Chicago, and took the opportunity to slam Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who was conspicuously absent from the event.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Trump—in reference to the ongoing violence in the Windy City—said, "It's embarrassing to us as a nation. All over the world, they’re talking about Chicago. Afghanistan is a safe place by comparison."
The line was one of several that resulted in uproarious laughter and applause from the attendees.
Trump then took direct aim at Commissioner Johnson, who had publicly announced his decision to boycott Trump's speech, sparking backlash from rank-and-file officers.
"There is one person that's not here today. We're in Chicago. I said, 'Where is he? I want to talk to him.' In fact, more than anyone else, this person should be here because maybe he could learn something—and that's the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, Eddie Johnson."
Trump continued, "Here's a man that could not bother to show up for a meeting of police chiefs—the most respected people in the country—in his hometown, and with the President of the United States. And you know why? It's because he’s not doing his job."
President Trump pointed to the high numbers of violent crime that have occurred in Chicago while Johnson has been at the helm of CPD.
"Last year, 565 people were murdered in Chicago. Since Eddie Johnson has been police chief, more than 1,500 people have been murdered in Chicago, and 13,067 people have been shot. During the first weekend of August 2019, 7 people were murdered and 52 were wounded in 32 shootings in Chicago. And recently, they had 78 shootings over a weekend spree, and 3 people killed. And Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the United States. That doesn’t seem to be working too well, does it?"
Trump also ripped Chicago's status as a sanctuary city, claiming that Johnson had denied more than 1,000 requests from immigration officials to detain immigrants in Cook County.
Following the speech, local elected officials criticized the president's remarks.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted Trump's comments as "insulting, ignorant buffoonery."